Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”. The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).
Who is looking out for workers in nonstandard work arrangements? As the prevalence of nonstandard work arrangements (such as temporary agency, contract, and “gig” arrangements) rises, so do concerns about workplace safety and health among this workforce. A recent article, “Nonstandard work arrangements and worker health and safety” published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine describes the major standard and nonstandard work arrangements and the potential managerial, legal, and health and safety challenges associated with nonstandard arrangements.
NIOSH will celebrate a notable 20th anniversary this month. On October 19, 1996, a new facility was dedicated on NIOSH’s Morgantown, West Virginia, campus. The facility, often referred to now as the “L” Building, provided NIOSH for the first time with a strategic convergence of specialized equipment and dedicated laboratory space for advanced health-effects research.
On October 1, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) enters its third decade. Unveiled in 1996, NORA is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Through NORA, diverse parties come together to create a research framework for the nation, including stakeholders from universities, large and small businesses, professional societies, government agencies, and worker organizations. NIOSH is proud to continue its role as steward of NORA.
During 1980-1989, Alaska had the highest work-related fatality rate of any state in the nation, with a rate of 34.8 deaths per 100,000 workers per year compared to the average U.S. rate of 7 deaths per 100,000 workers per year.
On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a new assessment of the growing public health threat of climate change. The report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment,” identified the many ways in which climate change is already threatening the health of all Americans and the significant public health challenges it is expected to create.
Don’t assume there is no need to prepare for working safely in the cold this year, because of the moderate temperatures in much of the country so far. According to the National Weather Service , the long-range weather forecast predicts chillier temperatures than average in January and February in the Southern Plains and the Southeast.
As we move further into the 21st century, converging demographic, economic, and cultural trends have made population aging one of the most important issues facing U.S. workers and businesses. In this context, however, far less attention has been paid to the safety and health needs of older workers.
Safety at work can depend on an effective or comfortable fit between the physical workplace or the tools of work, and the worker. A seatbelt becomes impractical if it can’t be latched securely or comfortably. The safety that firefighters’ gloves provide is compromised if the gloves are too big, hampering dexterity and movement in a hectic and physically risky situation.