From the Director’s Desk
John Howard, M.D., Director, NIOSH
Proactively Addressing the Increased Use and Functions of Robotics in the WorkplaceYou have undoubtedly heard and read news about dramatic advancements in robotics technology and forecasts and debates on the potential impacts on our society and economy. While at times this may sound like science fiction, robot sales are at record highs, and new types of robots with increased sophistication are being developed and used in workplaces. I am pleased to report that NIOSH has established a virtual Center for Occupational Robotics Research that will specifically address the safety and health implications for worker safety and health.
NIOSH Kicks Off New Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series
NIOSH is launching a new webinar series to continue the learning and discussions from the 2017 Expanding Research Partnerships: State of the Science Conferenceon NIOSH research and partnerships. The 2018 webinar series will feature intramural and extramural research within the NIOSH Program Portfolio. Webinars will be held February 14, May 16, and November 14 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. You MUST pre-register via the website to attend. NIOSH looks forward to continuing the work on expanding research partnerships for the greatest impact in occupational safety and health.
NIOSH Announces Open Registration for Two Upcoming Conferences
- Registration is now open for the 2nd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. The deadline for early registration is March 31. Student and supplemental workshop registration rates are also available. The Symposium will be held May 8-11 on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, just minutes from Washington, DC. Join more than 500 scientists and practitioners from around the world to learn about the latest science and practice for Total Worker Health approaches.
- Registration is now open for the 7th National Occupational Injury Research Symposium—NOIRS 2018. NOIRS is the only national forum focused on occupational injury research and will be held in Morgantown, West Virginia, at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place on October 16–18. The Symposium is hosted by NIOSH in partnership with the American Society of Safety Engineers, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, National Safety Council, Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, West Virginia University School of Public Health, and Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
NEW Infographic—EMS Providers: How to Stay Safe on the Job
Emergency medical service (EMS) providers are critical to public health and safety. They are also at high risk for injuries and exposures at work. This NIOSH infographic, co-branded with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recommends ways EMS providers can protect themselves from injuries. Download the infographic.
NIOSH Obtains Accreditation for 12 Test Methods Associated with Air-purifying Respirator Testing
NIOSH obtained ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for 12 test methods associated with air-purifying respirator testing. ISO/IEC 17025 is an important standard for calibration and testing laboratories around the world. This is the first step toward complete ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation of the NIOSH respirator approval test procedures. Obtaining ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation demonstrates our continued emphasis on quality and ensures our testing results continue to be accurate and reliable. More information is available via the website.
New MMWRs Highlight NIOSH Research Studies
Two of the January Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) from CDC include research updates from NIOSH researchers.
- Frequent Exertion and Frequent Standing at Work, by Industry and Occupation Group—United States, 2015.
This study found that large differences exist in prevalence of frequent exertion at work and frequent standing at work among major industry and occupation groups. Nearly 40% of U.S. adult workers report both frequent exertion and frequent standing at work.
- Asthma Mortality Among Persons Aged 15–64 Years, by Industry and Occupation—United States, 1999–2016
This study found that among U.S. adults aged 15–64 years, 31,394 deaths from asthma occurred during 1999–2015, including approximately 6,600 (700 annually) that could be attributable to occupational exposures and were therefore potentially preventable. The elevated asthma mortality among workers in certain industries and occupations underscores the importance of optimal asthma management and identification and prevention or reduction of potential workplace exposures.
In Memoriam: James (Jim) Melius
NIOSH is saddened by the death of former NIOSH researcher James (Jim) Melius. Jim joined NIOSH in 1980, where he directed the Health Hazards Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He then served as the director of the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies. Jim’s work provided many insights about work-related exposures to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were widely used as dielectric and coolant fluids in electrical apparatus, carbonless copy paper, and heat transfer fluids. He also contributed to the understanding of reproductive hazards in the workplace and the importance of indoor air quality to worker health and well-being. After leaving NIOSH, Jim became instrumental in establishing the first medical monitoring and treatment programs for those involved in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He also worked tirelessly to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which in 2015 went on to provide permanent funding for the World Trade Center Health Program. Read more about Jim’s work on the New York Times obituary page. Mt. Sinai is also hosting a commemoration of Jim’s life on Monday March 26, from 11:00am – 1:00pm in the Stern Auditorium, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
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