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	hazard signs, worker avoiding falling box

Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

The NIOSH Traumatic Injury Research Program conducts research via the public health approach, which follows a problem-solving process that begins with the identification of leading traumatic injury causes and events via surveillance; identification of risk and causal factors through investigations and analytic research; the identification and development of prevention and control strategies and technologies through engineering research; and the evaluation of strategies, programs, interventions, and technologies. The elements of this model include the following:

The following selected projects are described to provide an idea of the range of research activities involved in NIOSH traumatic occupational injury research.

Selection of Current Intramural Traumatic Injury Research Projects

Injury Surveillance

National Surveillance of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

This project collects nationally representative, nonfatal occupational injury surveillance data by using a sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Occupational Supplement (NEISS-Work), which is conducted collaboratively with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. NEISS-Work collects demographics of the injured worker, nature of injury characteristics, and a description of the injury event. National estimates of all occupational injuries and illnesses treated in emergency departments can be made, as well as estimates for injuries to special populations (e.g., children, women, African-Americans), injury events (e.g., falls), and types of injuries (e.g., eye injuries). Detailed telephone follow-back investigations provide additional information about injury circumstances, worker characteristics, safety precautions, and injury perceptions. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—Occupational Supplement is used to identify and characterize the U.S. work-related injury burden, direct research, and intervention efforts, and help establish occupational safety and health policy.

Program contact: Audrey Reichard
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6019
Project period: 10/01/1991–9/30/2020

Underreporting Research

NIOSH is examining under reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses through two worker surveys. Respondents are selected from a population of workers treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments as collected through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System—occupational supplement (NEISS-Work). One survey is assessing incentives and disincentives (barriers) to reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. The survey will also validate the accuracy of work-related case identification through NEISS-Work, explore under count issues within emergency department surveillance, and provide insight into worker reporting of injuries to employer and workers’ compensation programs. The second worker interview survey focuses on identifying the employment status, prior injury/illness experience, and injury/illness reporting practices of ED-treated workers with an emphasis on non-governmental workers who are self-employed or otherwise excluded from the Bureau of Labor Statistics employer survey. Together these surveys will provide a worker’s perspective on various under reporting issues and provide an improved understanding of NEISS-Work surveillance system benefits and limitations. Results from these interviews will be shared with federal and state partners such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Occupational Health Workgroup as well as a wide variety of other stakeholders interested in a better understanding of occupational injury and illness under reporting.

Project contact: Suzanne Marsh or Audrey Reichard
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6009 or 285-6019
Project period: 04/30/2009 – 9/30/2015

Injury Causation Research

Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Project

The purpose of the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Project is to identify work environments which place workers at high risk for fatal injury, identify potential risk factors, and formulate and disseminate prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace. Investigation findings and prevention recommendations are incorporated into health communication documents for broad dissemination and are used by employers to increase worker safety, by manufacturers to modify machinery and equipment to increase worker safety, and by OSHA and other organizations in the promulgation of safety standards and compliance directives.

Project contact: Nancy Romano
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5889
Project period: 10/01/1983–09/30/2020

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

In FY1998, Congress recognized the need for further efforts to address the continuing problem of occupational fire fighter fatalities, and funded NIOSH to conduct investigations of line-of-duty fire fighter traumatic deaths in order to make recommendations for preventing occupational deaths and serious injuries among the nation's 1.1 million fire fighters. Narrative reports with recommendations for preventing future similar deaths and summary documents for specific hazards and topics (e.g., structural collapse, diver training) are posted on the NIOSH Web site.

Project contact: Tim Merinar
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 11/01/1997–09/30/2020

Prevention and Control

Reducing Firefighter Vehicle Crashes: Simulation and Intervention

The specific aim of this project is to: develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) for improving fire emergency vehicle drivers’ safety performance under various driver-vehicle-environment conditions. ADASs are a class of independent electronic systems designed to help the driver maneuver through demanding traffic situations. Their overall aim is to reduce traffic incidents and to make the driving experience easier and more efficient. ADAS can use information from a GPS system and electronic map data and preemptively warn the driver of the need to control speed in an upcoming road segment. One example of an ADAS application is a "Curve Speed Warning (CSW)": knowing the radius of a curve in front of the vehicle and the distance to it, the system can calculate a maximum speed to safely negotiate the curve. If the actual vehicle speed is above this threshold, the system will warn the driver ahead of time or even reduce speed automatically so that the driver will safely negotiate the curved road. The driver-vehicle-environment conditions to be studied include vehicle type, emergency response, and warning system. The study will determine the effects of a CSW, on drivers’ performance, acceptability, and safety outcomes; and engage in joint efforts with National Fallen Firefighter Foundation (NFFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA), Ford Motor Company (ADAS developer), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to adapt, optimize, and implement the CSW ADAS for fire response vehicles.

Project contact: Peter Simeonov
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6268
Project period: 10/1/2012–9/30/2016

Communication/Dissemination/Technology Transfer

Utilization of Anthropometric Database to Enhance the Design of Firefighter Apparatus, Fire-engine Cabs, Seats, Restraint Systems, and Firefighter Bunker Gear

This project will establish a large-scale anthropometric database of U.S. firefighters for the design of ergonomically efficient automotive fire apparatus to help reduce the exposure of firefighters to fatal and non-fatal injuries. The database consists of anthropometric data for a sample of 951 firefighters and apparatus workspace data for 200 firefighters, who were selected to be representative of the U. S. firefighter population in terms of age, gender, and race/ethnicity. The database includes traditional anthropometric measurements, digital scans in 8 postures, and fire-truck cab workspace measurements. NIOSH is working with the fire apparatus and personal protective equipment manufacturers to assist the industry in integrating anthropometric data with the product design and commercialization process. NIOSH is also working with NFPA 1901 standards committees to integrate the anthropometric data into relevant NFPA standards regarding the design of fire apparatus, fire-engine cabs, seats, restraint systems, egress, and firefighter bunker gear. The objective of this study is to utilize the anthropometric database to enhance the design of new apparatus and PPE systems to better accommodate national firefighter populations, and thus enhance the ability of firefighters to select, fit, and use fire apparatus and PPE safely.

Project contact: Hongwei Hsiao
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5910
Project period: 10/1/2008–9/30/2015


Evaluation of an Occupational Motor Vehicle Crash Prevention Program in Law Enforcement

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive motor-vehicle crash prevention program in a large metropolitan police department in reducing the incidence of motor-vehicle crashes, injuries due to motor-vehicle crashes, and workers’ compensation costs. An interrupted time series design with two nonequivalent comparison groups will be used. Data will originate from agency administrative databases including motor-vehicle crash databases, motor-vehicle fleet databases, occupational injury databases, and personnel files. Injury and crash rates will be derived and compared from three years pre-intervention to three years post-intervention, as well as across comparison agencies. The second objective is to develop a dissemination plan to transfer the findings and potentially the program to other law enforcement agencies.

Project contact: Hope Tiesman
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-6067
Project period: 10/1/2013–9/30/2016

Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Health Care

Healthcare workers are nearly five times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than workers in all industries combined. Although six states have enacted laws to reduce violence against healthcare workers by requiring workplace violence prevention programs, little is known about the effectiveness of these laws. The objective of this study is two-fold: (1) to examine healthcare facility compliance with the New Jersey (NJ) Violence Prevention in Health Care Facilities Act, and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of the regulations in this Act in reducing assault injuries to workers. This project will evaluate the impact of the legislation by estimating changes in the incidence rate of employee violence before and after enactment of the New Jersey regulations. The findings of this research will be used to inform future regulations to reduce violence against healthcare workers

Project contact: Marilyn Ridenour
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5879
Project period: 10/1/2011 – 9/30/2016