Cancer and hearing loss rates are down, global demand for respirators is up and France passes a law to help workers with a digital divide. These were among the top stories featured this week on

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

By Dr,. John Howard

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).


What’s hot, what’s not for 2017?

ISHN’s “EHS State of the Nation” survey reveals goals & priorities

By Dave Johnson

In September and October 2016, BNP Media Research conducted an online survey of ISHN readers, asking many of you and your peers about program goals and priorities for the coming year.


Safety manager who cooperated with OSHA gets fired

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Jasper Roofing Contractors Inc. and its owner/chief executive officer, Brian Wedding, for terminating their safety manager after he cooperated with a safety and health inspection by OSHA. The suit results from an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.


Preventing job burnout among nurses

Despite the fact that they cope with heavy patient loads and hazards like sharps injuries, MSDs and workplace violence, nurses receive no training on stress management and burnout prevention. That, says Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, is leading to an “all-time high” in burnout levels in the nursing profession that is exacerbating the nursing shortage and affecting the nation’s health care.


OSHA sustainability stance gets thumbs’ up from ASSE

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) approves of OSHA’s newest white paper. The oldest professional safety organization says “Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health,” shows that the agency is recognizing the opportunity the corporate sustainability movement provides to encourage better commitment to worker safety and health.


Where breathing local air is a concern in the U.S.

In its annual ‘State of the Air’ report for 2016, the American Lung Association reports that despite the continued improvement in air quality, there are still over 166 million Americans at risk of averse health effects on account of unhealthy air throughout the country.


NIOSH: Exposure limits are uncertain for nano particles

Nanotechnology is a broad name given to a wide range of technologies and materials that create, manipulate, or use particles that have one thing in common - their size. Nanotechnology (or nanoscience) involves materials that are extremely small and have dimensions roughly between 1 and 100 nanometres (nm).


Hearing loss prevalence declining in U.S. adults aged 20 to 69

Hearing loss among U.S. adults aged 20 to 69 has declined over the last decade, even as the population of older Americans continues to grow. These findings, published today in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery , also confirm that hearing loss is strongly associated with age and other demographic factors such as sex, race/ethnicity, and education.


Workers face excavation hazards at NY construction site

Acting on a complaint, OSHA officers in June 2016 found employees of one of the Verona, New York area's largest general contractors working in an unprotected 10-foot deep excavation at a suburban New Jersey high school, in violation of federal safety and health laws.


Protect your hearing: Top ten noisiest cities in the U.S.

From neighbors and traffic to trains and pets, noise is a part of our everyday lives. But there are serious repercussions when it comes to daily exposure to high noise levels. It’s important to stay aware of how noise can affect you—both physically and emotionally—and learn how you can protect yourself from noise pollution.

What you need to know about...

Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA

Final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses

In 2013, OSHA issued a proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses through the electronic collection of establishment-specific injury and illness data to which OSHA currently does not have direct access.


Public health

Schools get next target for sodium reduction

The American Heart Association (AHA) is cheering the USDA’s recent memo detailing the next phase of lowering the sodium content of school menus. The memo, which was sent to those responsible for administering school meal programs, provides detailed information about how to meet target two of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) intended to improve the health of America’s school children.


Increasing respiratory disorders driving global demand for respirators

Air-purifying respirators are many types of negative-pressure respirators which include chemical media and mechanical filters. Positive pressure respirators include powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). Air-Purifying escape respirators (APER) are used by the general public for radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism incidents.

United Airlines agrees to baggage handling changes

Company has high rate of ergonomic injuries

United Airlines baggage handlers will get some protection from ergonomic hazards in the workplace, under what the U.S. Department is calling “a precedent-setting agreement” with the airline. The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the department on behalf of OSHA to eliminate several hazardous conditions its inspectors identified in United's baggage-handling operation at Newark Liberty International Airport, where United baggage handlers reported at least 622 musculoskeletal injuries from 2011 to January 2015.


French workers can legally ignore after hours work emails

France already has a strictly enforced 35 hour work. Now, French workers are getting even more assistance with establishing a work-life balance in the form of a new “right to disconnect” law that requires companies with 50 or more employees to grant their workers the right to not answer emails outside of regular work hours.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

Occupational exposure to BPA in U.S. manufacturing companies

You may have seen water bottles labeled “BPA Free” or heard that certain foods contain BPA. BPA (or bisphenol A) has been in the news over the past several years. BPA is weakly estrogenic; that is, BPA may mimic some of the hormone-like effects of estrogen. BPA is used primarily in making polycarbonate plastic and some epoxy resins. The general population is exposed to BPA mainly through diet.


Steelworkers’ union backs new beryllium standard

The United Steelworkers (USW) are praising OSHA for its release last week of the final rule for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in general industry, construction and maritime. “This has been a long time in the making,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.


Worker fired for calling 911 after amputation

When a co-worker severed part of his thumb in July 2014, a food processor at a beef jerky manufacturing plant acted quickly, helping him apply pressure to the wound and using her cellphone to call 911. Before responders could answer, the company's owner ordered her to hang up. Two days later, she was terminated.


Cancer death rate has dropped 25% since 1991 peak

Rates differ by gender, race

A steady decline over more than two decades has resulted in a 25% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States. The drop equates to 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2014. The news comes from Cancer Statistics 2017, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) comprehensive annual report on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival. It is published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and is accompanied by a consumer version of the publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2017.


A NIOSH Science Blog post

USE 2017: Resolve to Be There

Welcome to a new year. Are you ready to set your resolutions for this year? How about starting by learning more about the international Understanding Small Enterprises (USE) Conference, which is being held in the U.S. for the first time this coming October 25-27, 2017. NIOSH is collaborating with the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health to host USE 2017.