The dog days of summer are upon us, but what does that actually mean? This phrase refers to the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the summer, usually ranging from July through August. In ancient times, the return of Sirius (the Dog Star), which is the brightest star in the night sky, would be a forerunner of the hottest phase of the summer.
This month I’m pleased to share with you that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of occupational respiratory disease research at the NIOSH facility in Morgantown. In 1967 the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Disease (ALFORD) was established within the U.S. Public Health Service, and in 1971 it became part of NIOSH.
NIOSH has led a research program focused on small business safety and health for more than two decades because we know workers in small businesses are injured and killed on the job at a higher rate than workers in larger businesses. Over the years, we have expanded our research focus from identifying small businesses in high-risk sectors to understanding how community networks affect worker safety and health.
Our partners are vital in helping NIOSH advance the safety, health, and well-being of America’s workers. By working collaboratively with our partners, NIOSH is able to transfer our research findings into cost-effective solutions to make work safer, healthier, and more productive for workers, employers, and the Nation.
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.