From the Director’s Desk
John Howard, M.D. Director, NIOSH
Worker Health, Totally
We often speak of our personal and working lives as if they were mutually exclusive. We "go to work" or "come home."
A similar perception of life divided by the company fence has traditionally driven public policy, business practice, and individual initiative for worker health. Typically, a corporate safety and health department is responsible for practices to prevent injuries or illnesses associated with the conditions of work. The human resources department handles insurance duties (including the administration of workers’ compensation insurance for injuries on the job after
fact) and provides assistance for health issues viewed as "life style" or "personal health" choices, such as smoking cessation and stress management.
As the U.S. economy undergoes revolutionary changes, as businesses try to adapt to new market forces, as CEOs seek to rein in spiraling insurance costs, and as scientists and doctors learn more about the nature and causes of illness and injury, the distinctions between work and home become less clear-cut. Our bodies do not compartmentalize exposures according to whether they occurred at work, on the street, or at home. When a child comes down with a mild cold and has to
stay home from preschool, the frantic search to find backup day care is both a personal and a work-related stress point, as any working parent knows.
In Memoriam: John Palassis
NIOSH and CDC have lost a great colleague, mentor, friend, and respected researcher. John Palassis passed away on October 18. John retired from NIOSH in 2010. His efforts over his 33 years at NIOSH produced significant impacts through worker training, outreach to small businesses, and the development of consistent and comprehensive safety and health program standards. He was highly effective in developing solutions and providing joint guidance; this approach has served
as a model for other CDC and NIOSH colleagues. In particular, John’s collaborations involving national programs to educate and protect young workers (e.g., National Skills Standards, School Chemistry Laboratory Safety) have addressed key issues for an important public health audience. His development and promotion of the NIOSH Safety Checklist Program for Schools is one of his legacies. The many persons who had the pleasure of working with John will remember him for his strong faith, his
of family, his tireless work ethic, his warm and friendly spirit, and a life of service to others.
Protecting Emergency Response Employees from Infectious Disease
NIOSH announces revised and updated resources to help prevent exposures of emergency response employees to potentially life-threatening infectious diseases in the line of duty. The action was taken as a result of provisions in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. For more information on these new resources go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-11-02-11.html
National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce Released
A national survey and assessment of the occupational safety and health workforce has been completed by Westat under contract with NIOSH. This effort was guided by a multidisciplinary advisory task force of occupational safety and health professional and practitioners.. A key finding is that future national demand for occupational safety and health services will significantly outstrip the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to
provide such services. Next steps include wide dissemination of the results and further analysis of the disparities in the supply and demand for safety and health professionals in the United States. NIOSH plans to make this unique database publically available to help guide action and policy development in occupational safety. The final Westat report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oshworkforce/
Get Fired Up for New NIOSH Twitter Site
Follow NIOSH @NIOSHFiringRanges and get updates on NIOSH research and newest findings related to the evaluation, measurement, and control of noise and airborne lead exposures at indoor firing ranges. (https://twitter.com/#!/NIOSH_FirRanges
Centers of Excellence to Promote a Healthier Workforce
NIOSH funded four extramural centers of excellence in fiscal year 2011. The three existing centers successfully re-competed and a new center at Oregon Health Sciences University (Portland) was funded. These centers were funded as part of the NIOSH Total Worker Health Program
). More information on each center is located at the sites listed below.
Celebrating 50 Years of MMWR
In October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released a special supplement, Public Health Then and Now
, which celebrates 50 years of MMWR. The supplement includes an article by NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard and Dr. William Halperin entitled "Occupational Epidemiology and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health." The article discusses the rich history of occupational
epidemiology in supporting NIOSH’s vital mission and the foundational role of health surveillance in providing the data through which job-related disorders can be identified, tracked, measured, and prevented. (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6004a15.htm?s_cid=su6004a15_w
HHE Program Annual Report
It’s a poster! It’s modern art! It’s a conversation starter! It’s an annual report? To access the 2010 Health Hazard Evaluation Program Annual Report
, go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/resources.html
! This unique format will keep this annual report up on your wall rather than collecting dust on your bookshelf for years to come. To request a
paper copy of the 2010
Annual Report, send an email with your mailing address to SEvans2@...
NIOSH Partners with Mexican Embassy, Consulates for Labor Rights Week Activities
The Mexican Embassy and its network of 50 consulates in the United States celebrated the Second Annual Labor Rights Week August 29 through September 5 with the theme of "Women in the Workplace." NIOSH participated in a variety of activities hosted by the Embassy, the consular services office in Washington, DC, and the consulate general in Atlanta. NIOSH and the Mexican Government and other stakeholders have an ongoing partnership that aims to build capacity in both the
consulates and in occupational safety and health institutions to improve the workplace safety and health of immigrant workers. For more information, contact Pietra Check at pcheck@...
World Trade Center Health Program Updates
WTC Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee To Meet
On November 9 and 10, the World Trade Center Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting. The meeting will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building in New York, NY, and will be open to the public. For more information about the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee and the WTC Health Program, visit the website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/wtc
News from Our Partners
New Published Findings From Massachusetts Show Decline In Sharps Injuries Rates
New findings showing the reduction of sharps injuries among employees in acute care hospitals have been published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. From 2002–2007, over 16,000 injuries among employees of 76 acute care hospitals were reported to the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System. The annual sharps injury rate (injuries per 100 full-time employee equivalents) decreased by 22% over the 6 years, with significant declines in rates of
associated with both hypodermic needles and winged steel needles, two devices with injury prevention features that appeared to be increasingly used. The continued use of devices lacking sharps injury protections needs to be addressed, the authors said. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21558765
OSHA Publishes New Safety Materials for Laboratory Managers and Workers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published new educational materials for laboratory managers on protecting their workers from exposure to chemical, biological, and physical hazards. The materials include the document Laboratory Safety Guidance (http://www.osha.gov/Publications/laboratory/OSHA3404laboratory-safety-guidance.pdf
), which describes how electrical hazards, fire, explosions, and falls, among other hazards, can be minimized or eliminated if employers use safety plans, worker training, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment. The materials also include fact sheets that each focus
on a specific hazard related to laboratory environments. For more information, go to http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/laboratories/index.html
Creating Healthy Organizations: Promising Practices in Kentucky
A new report by the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) highlights best practices in health and wellness initiatives that are taking place in Kentucky. The report documents 23 promising practices from Kentucky-based employers that aim to promote worker health and presents and describes the "HealthIntegrated Workplace" Model. This model illustrates the key dimensions and business processes necessary to create a workplace that promotes an
integrated approach to worker health. The report was sponsored by NIOSH, CVS Caremark, and UK HealthCare. For more information, go to http://www.uky.edu/Centers/iwin/workplace_research/HealthyOrgReport.pdf
Study Links Fast Food Dining to Work Hours
A study by the University of California, Davis, found that fast-food dining is most popular for those with middle incomes rather than those with lowest incomes. The study also found that people who worked more hours were more likely to go to both fast-food and full-service restaurants. Based on these findings, the authors say that policymakers and researchers may need to look beyond restaurant type for reasons for and solutions to the obesity epidemic. The study is
available at online at http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/pop.2010.0071
and will also be published in the December print edition of Population Health Management
. The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Word of the Month
Total Worker Health— Total Worker Health is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being. More information on the program is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/TWH/
NIOSH eNews is Brought to You By:
- John Howard, M..D., Director
- Fred Blosser, Editor in Chief
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