Occupational Health Equity Program PPOP

What are our priorities?

Not all workers have the same risk of experiencing a work-related health problem, even when they have the same job. Factors that place some workers at greater risk include exclusion and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, place of birth, age, class, and gender; economic trends such as the growth of the temporary workforce; and organizational factors such as business size. These underserved workers may need additional or different tools, strategies, and resources to promote occupational safety and health. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Occupational Health Equity Program seeks to improve occupational health and safety in specific, higher-risk populations with the help of partners in industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia. The program focuses on these areas:

  • Decreasing injury and illness in industries where underserved workers are frequently employed
  • Decreasing fatal occupational injuries and illnesses among underserved workers
What do we do?
  • Improve surveillance to better capture differences in the number and type of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among underserved workers.
  • Use surveillance to understand better how economic costs like days away from work and healthcare expenses vary across under-served worker populations.
  • Expand collaborations with researchers with-in and outside of NIOSH studying injuries and chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular
  • disease, diabetes, reproductive health, and cancer) by including occupational health questions in ongoing studies.
  • Document occupational health inequities among groups of workers and research the causes of those disparities.
  • Partner with state and federal agencies interested in worker safety and health, including city and state health departments and other CDC programs, to share information and helpful tools to protect more workers.
What have we accomplished?
  • Contributed to NIOSH’s Future of Work Initiative by describing the needs of the increasingly diverse U.S. workforce and promoting the equitable distribution work-related risks and benefits.
  • Worked with community-based organizations to implement a multilingual COVID-19 information campaign achieving hundreds of thousands of engagements with meat, poultry, and seafood (i.e., “protein”) processing workers
  • Published studies examining occupational safety and health issues facing underserved worker populations:
What’s next?
  • Finalize a strategic plan for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) workers across the United States that describes the safety and health research priorities for AI/AN communities.
  • Examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of meat processing workers, a multilingual workforce who also faces social, economic, and structural barriers in their daily lives.

Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

At-A-Glance

The Occupational Health Equity Program seeks to eliminate health inequities that lead to injury, illness, and death that are closely linked with social, economic, or environmental disadvantage. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming work.

Days away from work injury and illness rate (per 10,000 workers) in sectors with a high proportion of Hispanic workers:
Days away from work injury and illness rate (per 10,000 workers) in Sectors with a high proportion of Hispanic workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Rate of fatal occupational injury by race/ethnicity (per 100,000 workers):
Rate of fatal occupational injury by race/ethnicity  (per 100,000 workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Screenshot of the published article, titled "Comparing self-reported and O*NET-based assessments of job control as predictors of self-rated health for non-Hispanic whites and racial/ethnic minorities.

To learn more, visit
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/ohe
January 2022

Page last reviewed: January 3, 2022