Notable Milestones in NIOSH History
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
- 2009 – Present: John Howard, M.D.
- 2002 – 2008: John Howard, M.D.
- 1994 – 2000: Linda Rosenstock, M.D.
- 1981 – 1993: J. Donald Millar, M.D.
- 1978 – 1981: Anthony Robbins, M.D.
- 1975 – 1978: John Finklea, M.D.
- 1971 – 1975: Marcus Key, M.D.
- March 10, 1970, the first Health Hazard Evaluation is conducted at the Sager Glove Corporation in Murray, Kentucky, where researchers study asbestos exposures.
- NIOSH begins to certify respirators.
- December 29, 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, creating NIOSH, is signed by President Richard Nixon.
- NIOSH and OSHA develop the Standards Completion Program, which includes 387 substance-specific draft standards. This leads to the NIOSH/OSHA Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards.
- The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is first published. The manual is a collection of methods for sampling and analyzing contaminants in workplace air, surfaces, and in the blood and urine of workers.
- The B Reader Program is established to provide qualified readers to meet the 1949 International Labour Office (ILO) standard for noting from X-rays some of the abnormal features that can be caused by inhaling dusts by inhaling dusts.
- Recommended exposure limit (REL) for occupational exposure to crystalline silica
- First Current Intelligence Bulletins (CIBs) The CIBs review and evaluate new and emerging information about occupational hazards. The publications may draw attention to a previously unrecognized hazard or report new data on a known hazard or methods to control new hazards.
- The first nine Education and Research Centers (ERCs) awarded (Harvard University, University of Cincinnati, Johns Hopkins University, University of Texas Houston, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, University of Washington, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Arizona). ERCs play a significant role in preparing the future OSH workforce to respond to new challenges posed by the changing nature of work.
- Courts affirm authority to enter workplaces, look at medical records, and release research findings.
- Occupational Diseases: A Guide to Their Recognition published to inform about how to detect workplace diseases.
- The Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program begins. Investigations conducted through the FACE program help identify factors that contribute to these fatal injuries. This information is used to develop comprehensive recommendations for preventing similar deaths. NIOSH goes on to publish the first three FACE reports this same year.
- On the 15th anniversary of the OSH Act, the Office of Technology Assessment issues a report concluding that the Act helped to reduce exposures to vinyl chloride, cotton dust, and lead.
- NIOSH publishes a research agenda focusing on the top 10 most important topics for workplace health and safety at the time. This is considered to be the foundation of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).
- Proposed National Strategies for the Prevention of Leading Work-Related Diseases and Injuries published, focusing on how to prevent musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace.
- Collaboration with ILO International Programme on Chemical Safety establishes hazard communication cards (International Chemical Safety Cards) to give essential safety and health information in a clear and concise way to workers and OSH professionals.
- The Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risk (SENSOR) program is established. The program supports changes in federal regulations to reduce pesticide-related health risks, improvements in training and certification for pesticide applicators, safer pest control in schools, and improved labels on pesticide products.
- Landmark study published showing hazards of exposure to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite and lung cancer mortality in Libby, Montana.
- Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) launched to help reduce the number of workers who have elevated blood lead levels from exposures in their workplaces.
- The Alice B. Hamilton Award for Excellence in Science in Occupational Safety and Health recognizes the scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers in the areas of biological science, engineering and physical science, human studies, and educational materials.
- State FACE program established.
- Centers for Agricultural Disease and Injury Research, Education, and Prevention are established. The Centers conduct research, education, and prevention projects to address the nation’s pressing agricultural, forestry, and fishing health and safety problems in their geographic regions.
- National Center for Construction Safety and Health Research and Translation established.
- Current Intelligence Bulletin, Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace: Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects published, explaining effects of environmental tobacco smoke.
- First Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report published (in 2008 it became an online surveillance system).
- Preventing Homicide in the Workplace, an Alert, is released. This is the first NIOSH publication to identify high-risk occupations and workplaces, inform workers and employers about the risk, and encourage steps to prevent homicide in the workplace.
- NIOSH website launched.
- National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices, is established.
- The Childhood Agricultural Injury Prevention Initiative is funded by Congress, and the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Safety and Health is established.
- Mine safety research authority is transferred to NIOSH after the U.S. Bureau of Mines closes.
- The Engineering Control Guidelines for Hot Mix Asphalt Pavers is published. This is a new way to do research through partnerships among labor, industry, and government.
- Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace, an Alert, is published, addressing reports of workers’ allergic reactions to latex.
- NIOSH publishes “The Yellow Book” or the Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors: A Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back.
- NIOSH gives technical assistance on safety and health for responders at the World Trade Center rescue and recovery.
- NIOSH en Español website launches.
- NIOSH responds to anthrax attacks.
- NIOSH creates a coordinated emergency preparedness and response program to improve how it responds to future emergencies and disasters.
- HHS designates the role of compensation analysis and support to NIOSH in response to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000.
- NIOSH funds Total Worker Health® Centers of Excellence.
- After Sago mine disaster, the MINER Act calls for NIOSH to do mining research.
- NIOSH-designed field methods help to quickly detect methamphetamine on environmental surfaces.
- The second decade of NORA begins.
- Safe Lifting and Movement of Nursing Home Residents is published to help staff protect workers from injury, reduce workers’ compensation costs, and improve the quality of care delivered to residents.
- The National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank established.
- A new sizing structure is released for fall-arrest harnesses to better fit the diverse sizes and shapes of construction workers.
- Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology is published. This is the first guidance document on risk-management and safe handling of engineered nanomaterials to include information about hazard, exposure, and controls.
- Oversight of the World Trade Center Health Registry is moved to NIOSH.
- NIOSH responds to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
- NIOSH broadens its social presence joining Twitter
- NIOSH gives technical assistance for responder safety and health in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill containment and cleanup.
- The Center for Motor Vehicle Safety established.
- Prevention through Design (PtD): Plan for the National Initiative is published. PtD was noted as the best way to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
- New occupational health hazard, Indium Lung Disease, identified.
- James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 signed into law on 01/02/2011, creating the World Trade Center Health Program.
- The Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework published to organizations to monitor the health and safety of emergency responders.
- NIOSH research and assistance supports ILO standards for using digital chest radiographs in worker-screening programs.
- The Ladder Safety App, the first NIOSH mobile app, is released.
- Current Intelligence Bulletin 65: Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers is released, including the first recommended exposure limit for a new class of engineered nanomaterials.
- The Center for Workers’ Compensation Studies is established.
- Oil and Gas Research Program publishes key findings on leading safety and health hazards in the industry: Identifying motor vehicle crashes as leading cause of death in the oil and gas extraction industry and identifying respirable crystalline silica as a hazard during hydraulic fracturing operations.
- Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses training released.
- NIOSH staff respond to the Ebola epidemic.
- The Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce program launches.
- The Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies is established.
- The coal workers’ surveillance program expands to include surface and underground coal miners and to provide lung function (spirometry) testing.
- NIOSH moves into visual storytelling on social media joining Instagram.
- The National Center for Productive Aging and Work is established.
- The Center for Maritime Safety and Health Studies is established.
- Suicide in U.S workplaces, 2003-2010: a comparison with non-workplace suicides is published. This gave information on suicides that occurred in the workplace for which little was known at the time.
- The first database of firefighter body measurements is developed to improve the design and safety of fire apparatus and equipment.
- A “mini-baghouse” prototype is developed and tested to protect oil and gas extraction workers by controlling silica dust at hydraulic fracturing worksites.
- The Third decade of NORA begins.
- Emission of Particulate Matter from a Desktop Three-Dimensional (3D) Printer This is the first of many publications pertaining to advanced (additive) manufacturing.
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione sets a diacetyl recommended exposure limit.
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments is published, reinforcing exposure limits to protect workers from health risks from heat and hot environments.
- The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Respiratory Protection Handbook, which guides how to select and use respirators, is published.
- New tools developed to help identify dampness/mold in schools and buildings.
- The Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research and Training Program is established.
- National robotics research is funded through partnerships.
- Drug Overdose Deaths at Work, 2011–2016 offers a look at the workers and workplaces affected by substance use on the job.
- The NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process for Chemical Risk Management is published.
- The Illicit Drug Tool-Kit for First Responders publishes, signifying a major step in helping ensure the safety of first responders in the face of a growing drug epidemic.
- NIOSH marks the 100th anniversary of the first respirator approval. More than 9,000 respirator approvals have been issued since 1970.