National Healthcare and Social Assistance Agenda

 An updated agenda is available here 

The NORA Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector Council finalized this version of the National Healthcare and Social Assistance Agenda after considering public comments on the previous draft.

NORA is a partnership effort to define and conduct high priority research in occupational safety and health. Sector-based partnerships use research results to encourage changes in workplaces that will be effective in reducing worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths. NIOSH serves as a facilitator of the NORA process. More information about  NORA  is available.

 The Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) Sector  is comprised of four subsectors: ambulatory health care services ( NAICS 621External ), hospitals ( NAICS 622External ), nursing and residential care facilities ( NAICS 623External ), and social assistance ( NAICS 624External ). Social assistance includes establishments that provide nonresidential individual and family services for youth, elderly and persons with disabilities; community food, housing and emergency relief services; vocational rehabilitation services; and child day care services. The ambulance services industry ( NAICS 62191External ) is not included in the NORA HCSA sector program; however; it is included in the NORA Public Safety Sector which developed goals specifically addressing this industry.

Because of the many parallels between animal and human healthcare, the veterinary services industry ( NAICS 54194External ) is included in the NORA HCSA Sector. A future update of the Agenda will include goals addressing priority issues in that industry.

An estimated 18.9 million people, about 13% of the US workforce, were employed within the HCSA sector (BLS Current Population Survey, , visited 6 February 2012). Eighty-three percent of these workers were in health care industries and 17% in social assistance industries. Growth of the HCSA sector between 2008 and 2018 is projected to be more than any other industrial sector adding 3.2 million new jobs (BLS Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition, Healthcare, , visited 6 February 2012). In 2010, there were 654,000 episodes of nonfatal occupational illness and injury among private industry HCSA employers, and an additional 111,000 episodes among State and local government-owned HCSA facilities (BLS News Release, , visited 6 February 2012). Combined, these 765,000 cases are equivalent to one episode occurring every 41 seconds. HCSA sector employers in private industry experienced the largest number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses when compared to all other industry sectors at the 2 digit NAICS level. State government owned nursing and residential care facilities experienced the highest incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases among all industries in 2010 (BLS, Current Population Survey, , visited 6 February 2012).

The HCSA Sector Council developed five strategic goals designed to address top safety and health priorities for the sector: Strategic Goal 1 – safety and health programs; Strategic Goal 2 – musculoskeletal disorders; Strategic Goal 3 – hazardous drugs and other chemicals; Strategic goal 4 – sharps injuries; and Strategic Goal 5 – infectious diseases. More recently, a working group of the Sector Council drafted new strategic goals addressing priority occupational safety and health issues for the Veterinary Services industry. The goals focus on hazards faced by veterinary medicine and animal care personnel in this industry and in many other types of establishments in which they work, for example, zoos, nature parks, and settings offering a variety of pet care.

Comments on the selected goals are always welcome; they will be considered in future updates of this agenda. The NORA Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector Council is particularly interested in comments from those organizations and individuals who would commit to advancing one or more of these goals through partnerships.

You may submit correspondence by email to

 <strong>National Healthcare and Social Assistance Agenda</strong> – December 2009&nbsp;Cdc-pdf[PDF – 105 KB] 

Contact the NORA Coordinator if you have any questions:

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
Page last reviewed: June 12, 2012 (archived document)