Statement for Labor Day 2005 by NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.
September 1, 2005
Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
Work enhances us as individuals. It strengthens our families, our communities, and our society. Labor Day reminds us that the history of our country is the history of working men and women.
We are proud that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has an important role in U.S. work life, through our research to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. In today’s global marketplace, a safe, healthy, and productive work force is essential for keeping the U.S. economy robust and competitive.
Nearly a decade ago, NIOSH engaged in historic discussions with our diverse stakeholders to chart the course of occupational safety and health research into the 21st Century. We all determined that strategic teamwork was critical for carrying out a mission that was too big for any of us to shoulder alone. As a result, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) was established. Based on input from more than 500 individuals and organizations, it provided a framework for identifying priority occupational safety and health research needs, and for building new partnerships to carry out that research.
From the start, NORA was planned as a living blueprint, subject to review and change as needed. This year, we have worked with our partners to evaluate the progress that has been made since 1996, and to identify successes that have grown from NORA collaborations, including the translation of research results into actual work practices. We have also considered the changes that have occurred in the U.S. workplace in the intervening time. In combination, those factors will help NIOSH and its collaborators to shape the second decade of NORA. We look forward to further interactions with stakeholders in the coming months, as we prepare to roll out our collaborative plans for the second decade of NORA in Spring 2006, on the 35th Anniversary of NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The theme of collaboration has also informed other NIOSH initiatives that address the dynamics of work in the 21st Century. These include Steps to a Healthier U.S. Workforce, NIOSH’s strategic research on the occupational health implications and applications of nanotechnology, and Research to Practice (r2p). On Labor Day 2005, a day for honoring those who work, we invite the participation of all who share our mission.