National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the primary federal agency conducting research on the safety and health of the workplace. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Institute was established in 1971 by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 to provide research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. To conduct its programs, NIOSH draws from several public health disciplines, including industrial hygiene, epidemiology, nursing, engineering, medicine, statistics, psychology, the social sciences, and communication.
NIOSH develops and promotes the use of national and state-based surveillance systems to identify, quantify, and track injuries and illnesses. Epidemiological analyses of these databases help identify unsafe or unhealthy workplace conditions. NIOSH also supports laboratory and field research to further identify, assess, and control occupational hazards and exposures and the diseases and injuries they cause. The research is conducted both intramurally by NIOSH personnel and extramurally through research grants and cooperative agreements. In 1996, NIOSH and more than five hundred other organizations and individuals enhanced these collaborations by establishing the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to guide occupational safety and health research on a broader scale. NORA provides a framework of priorities for both intramural and extramural research programs.
In addition to identifying risks, NIOSH develops and evaluates prevention measures such as control technology, personal protective equipment, and work practices. NIOSH assesses potential health problems at worksites upon the request of employers, employees, and other government entities. These evaluations often identify new occupational health problems and provide the industry-wide expertise needed to target prevention initiatives.
NIOSH uses the knowledge gained from research, surveillance, and prevention efforts to deliver critical information to workers, employers, the public, and the public health community. The institute produces and disseminates various informational materials, including policy and criteria documents, technical and surveillance reports, and educational documents. NIOSH also evaluates the effectiveness of worker training programs to ensure that the messages of workplace safety and health are effective for individual workers.
As directed by the OSH Act, NIOSH works to maintain adequate numbers of occupational safety and health professionals and researchers by establishing, strengthening, and expanding graduate and undergraduate educational programs and special training grants.
For further information contact NIOSH at 1–800-35-NIOSH (1–800-356–4674) or visit the NIOSH web site, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh.
JULIE M. BRADLEY
Rosenstock, L., and Cullen, M. R. (1994). Textbook of Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2000). Worker Health Chartbook, 2000. Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Safety and Health.