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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

9278431 - Supplement to the Health Hazard Evaluation Program

Start Date: 10/1/2002
End Date: 9/30/2014

Principal Investigator (PI)
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DSHEFS
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goals Addressed
3.0, 4.0, 8.0

Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is to support the Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch (HETAB), which administers the NIOSH health hazard evaluation program. HETAB responds to requests for evaluations of workplace health hazards from employers, employees and their representatives. HETAB conducts studies of workplaces in response to these requests to determine if workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions. When hazardous materials or harmful conditions are found, HETAB makes recommendations to improve the health and safety of workers. HHEs affect workers throughout the United States in all occupational and workplace sectors. In addition to reports distributed at the evaluated workplaces and published on the NIOSH web site, findings from selected investigations are disseminated in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and at technical meetings and conferences.


This project provides the main support for the personnel, travel, and other costs associated with the Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch (HETAB), whose primary mission is administering and carrying out the health heath hazard evaluation (HHE) Program. HHEs provide an opportunity to obtain information on occupational exposures for which no standards exist or for which existing standards may not protect all workers. Workplace exposures and conditions that have been addressed by HHEs include chemicals, biological agents, work stress, noise, radiation and ergonomic stressors. There is no cost to the employer for these evaluations, and participation by the employees is voluntary. More than 12,000 HHEs have been completed since the inception of the program in 1971.

HETAB carries out its mandate with a staff of industrial hygienists, engineers, occupational physicians, epidemiologists, other health professionals, and support personnel. This staffing mix offers a unique multidisciplinary approach with an emphasis on identifying practical solutions to problems. HETAB responds to 65-70% of the approximately 400 annual requests to NIOSH for HHEs overall, and 85-90% of those that result in a field investigation.


The intermediate outcomes listed above can be substantiated by: (1) results of the HHE followback surveys, (2) internet hit statistics for HHE reports, and (3) searches on the internet for re-distribution of HHE findings and reports.

Mission Relevance

HETAB has primary responsibility for administering and carrying out the health hazard evaluation (HHE) program. HHEs are mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. HHEs identify exposures to physical, chemical, biological, and other hazards in the workplace, assess their relationship to health outcomes, and recommend measures to reduce exposures and prevent illness. The HHE program directly relates to the NIOSH and GPRA goals of preventing occupational disease and injury prevention through workplace evaluations, interventions, and recommendations. Users of the HHE program and its outputs potentially include workers in all sectors of the U.S. economy, organized labor, facility managers from small businesses to large corporations, other federal agencies, state and local health agencies, occupational medicine practitioners, and academicians. The HHE program directly impacts worker health and safety by providing recommendations to solve real-world problems in workplaces. By using state-of-the-art investigative tools, working closely with the affected populations, and distributing reports that translate findings into specific recommendations, HHEs span the r2p spectrum. The effectiveness of an HHE in addressing the problems at a worksite is assessed through followback surveys.

Through this project, the HHE Program/HETAB responds to requests that address strategic goals and intermediate goals of nearly all sectors. Based on current HHE activity, this project primarily is addressing goals in five sectors, as identified below. Because the nature of HHE activity is unpredictable; current activity may not reflect new activities that arise during the year.

For Healthcare and Social Assistance, this project aligns most closely with the following subgoals:

Strategic subgoal 2a (09PPHSAIG2a): Reduce occupationally-related cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes by reducing exposures to carcinogens and teratogens.

Strategic subgoal 2b (09PPHSAIG2b): Reduce job stress, fatigue and associated outcomes and diseases by improving the organization of work and reducing exposure to psychologically unhealthy work environments

Strategic subgoal 2f (09PPHSAIG2f): Reduce adverse outcomes caused by exposures to allergens and irritants.

For Services, this project aligns with the following subgoals:

Education and Schools:

Intermediate Goal 4.2 (09PPSRVIG4.2): Create guidance documents for hazard identification and control and indoor air quality in public and private schools.

Public Administration (Except Public Safety):

Intermediate Goal 8.2 (09PPSRVIG8.2): Create guidance documents for hazard identification and control, indoor air quality, occupational stress, and workplace violence in government work environments.

Musculoskeletal Disorders:

Intermediate Goal 16.2 (09PPSRVIG16.2): Develop, test, and disseminate effective intervention programs for services industries with higher risks for musculoskeletal disorders.

For Wholesale and Retail Trade, this project aligns with the following intermediate goals:

Intermediate Goal 1.1 (09PPWRTIG1.1): Reduce the incidence or prevalence of MSDs among the WRT workforce associated with heavy lifting and manual material handling.

Intermediate Goal 5.2 (09PPWRTIG5.2): Establish partnerships with businesses, manufacturers, suppliers, trade groups and other appropriate entities to plan and implement intervention programs targeting small businesses.