Public Safety Program

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Public Safety Program works with partners in industry, labor, professional and trade associations, academia, and government agencies. The program focuses on the following priority research topics for public safety workers:

  • Reducing injuries and deaths from motor vehicles and violence
  • Reducing exposures to hazardous substances and infectious diseases
  • Improving health and wellness, especially heart health
What do we do?
  • Study exposures and risk factors for cancer, known and new infectious diseases, and heart and respiratory disease; use findings to recommend prevention strategies
  • Approve respirators and conduct post market activities to reduce inhalation hazard exposures
  • Manage the National Firefighter Registry, a voluntary registry of U.S. firefighters, to track cancer trends and risk factors
  • Lead the development of personal protective equipment (PPE) standards and guidance
  • Investigate deaths to understand causes and make recommendations through the Fire Fighter Fatallity Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP)
  • Increase awareness and knowledge of prevention opportunities for injuries, illnesses, and deaths among public safety workers
What have we accomplished?
  • Published journal articlesexternal icon characterizing firefighters’ toxic exposures and cardiovascular disfunction under real-world firefighting conditions
  • Published a journal article summarizing firefighter hood contamination and effectiveness of laundering to remove airborne and biological exposures during fire training exercises
  • Led the development of the draft Combination Unit Respirator consensus standard
  • Published a fact sheet and poster on row house firefighting tactics
What’s next?
  • Use the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Studyexternal icon to measure wildland-urban interface exposures (e.g., including for per – and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)) and health biomarkers
  • Measure possible exposures to firefighters from various substances found on protective clothing including PFAS
  • Assess adequacy of laundering wildland firefighting gear to remove toxicants
  • Develop methods for assessing lifecycle and decontamination processes for firefighter PPE
  • Evaluate impact of different base layers and tightening turnout gear openings (e.g., neck and waist) on reducing dermal and airborne contaminant exposure
  • Develop NIOSH webpages about minimizing exposures to and health effects of wildland fires
  • Use Ohio workers’ compensation data and phone interviews to describe law enforcement and firefighter injuries
  • Produce an article on working hours, sleep, and fatigue among public safety workers
  • Produce training for law enforcement officers to reduce risks of injuries related to shift work and long work hours

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 Public Safety Program leads efforts to prevent injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among workers in law enforcement, structural and wildland fire service, corrections, and the emergency medical service (EMS). This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming activities.

Number of Motor Vehicle-Related Fatal Occupational Injuries among Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) and Firefighters
Number of Motor Vehicle-Related Fatal Occupational Injuries among Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) and Firefighters

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).

Number of Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Website
Number of Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Website

Source: FFFIPP records

Publication Spotlight:

Officer Road Code Toolkit Decal

Publication Spotlight: Officer Road Code Toolkit Decal

This decal is part of the Officer Road Code Toolkit and provides a visual reminder of safe driving.

To learn more, visit
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/pubsaf/
December 2020

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2020