Public Safety Program
The Public Safety Program is based on one of ten sector groupings within the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). It has five sub-sectors: fire service, law enforcement, corrections, emergency medical service, and wildland fire service. Public safety workers are employed in some of the most dangerous occupations in the world. They respond, protect, and restore the safety, security, and routine to our lives through their day-to-day and emergency response operations.
Preventing Unintentional Occupational Exposure to Illicit Drugs Among Public Safety Workers
NIOSH has developed recommendations on safe operating procedures, training, personal protective equipment, and decontamination procedures to reduce the risk of harm to emergency responders due to exposure to illicit drugs.
Fire Fighter Cancer Registry
On July 9th, 2018 President Donald Trump signed legislation requiring the CDC to set up a registry of fire fighters that will track links between their workplace exposures and cancer. NIOSH created the National Firefighter Registry (NFR) to better understand the link between on-the-job exposures to toxins and cancer. All current and former firefighters are encouraged to provide vital information about their own health and work experiences by participating in the NFR. Participating will help increase the knowledge about the health risks faced by firefighters.
Law Enforcement Officer Road Code Toolkit
Vehicle crashes have been a leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers for more than 20 years. On average, one officer dies each week from a crash. In 2018, 50 officers died in crashes (an increase of 9% from 2017). The Officer Road Code Toolkit is designed to promote safe driving practices within an agency so that patrol officers operate by a unified code behind the wheel: Drive to Arrive Alive.
Interim Recommendations for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 911 Public Safety Answering Points/Emergency Communication Centers (PSAP/ECCs) in the United States During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic
This guidance applies to all medical first responders, including fire services, emergency medical services, and emergency management officials, who anticipate close contact with persons with suspected or confirmed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the course of their work.
What Law Enforcement Personnel Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
This guidance applies to law enforcement personnel who anticipate close contact with persons with suspected or confirmed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the course of their work.
The mission of the NIOSH research program for the Public Safety Program is to reduce or eliminate occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among workers through a focused program of research and prevention. Public safety workers are employed in some of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Every day across the nation, emergencies occur that threaten people’s life, well-being, property, peace, and security. During these events, society relies on public safety workers to respond, protect, and restore the safety, security, and routine. Every time these responders take action, they may be putting their health, safety, and even lives on the line.
The Public Safety Program sets national priorities, encourages new NIOSH projects to address program priorities, and monitors NIOSH-funded Intramural and Extramural projects and grants. Through the development of partnerships, the program can identify the most salient needs of this diverse sector with a comprehensive goal to improve occupational safety and health (OSH). The program uses NIOSH resources to support the most important research, understand effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. The Public Safety Program also tracks impacts achieved by NIOSH projects and partner efforts in support of sector goals.
The Public Safety Program has selected research priorities on the basis of burden, need, and impact and collaborated with other NIOSH research programs to write the research goals in the NIOSH Strategic Plan for FYs 2019-2023. The priority areas are:
- Preventing occupational cancer and cardiovascular disease reducing exposures to known or suspected carcinogens and risk factors for CVD
- Reducing traumatic injuries including motor vehicle crashes, workplace violence and substance misuse
- Preventing transmission of infectious diseases and dermal exposure to illicit drugs
- preventing respiratory diseases including fixed airways diseases such as COPD
- Promoting safe and healthy work design to prevent negative mental health outcomes such as PTSD, compassion fatigue, and depression
Program Performance One-Pager (PPOP): The Public Safety Public Safety Program Performance One-pager offers a snapshot of NIOSH programs’ priorities, strategies used to make progress towards priorities, recent accomplishments, and upcoming work.
Impact Sheets: The PSS Impact Sheets briefly describe an occupational safety or health hazard, the specific NIOSH or NIOSH-funded research activity that was conducted to address the hazard, the resulting impact or recommendations, and relevant statistics. The most recent sheets include:
Resource and Topic Pages
More information on public safety and useful resources can be found on the following topic pages:
The PSS program helps lead the NORA Public Safety Sector Council, which brings together individuals and organizations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. The council seeks to facilitate the most important research, understand the most effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. The council authored the National Occupational Research Agenda for Public Safety.
Contact Dr. Wesley R. Attwood, Public Health Advisor, at WAttwood@cdc.gov with questions about the Public Safety Program.