NIOSH Research on Worker Safety


A recent report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Research (NIOSH) highlights the Institute’s continued research related to worker safety.

According to NIOSH’s blog entitled “The “S” in NIOSH”, at the close of National Safety Month in June and as the American Society of Safety Engineers holds its annual meeting, the Institute is highlighting just some of their safety-related research.

The report states that the industries with the highest number of fatal injuries include: services (1,354), construction (933), transportation/warehouse/utilities (832), agriculture/forestry/fishing (584), and trade (463).

NIOSH says that “Focusing on the data can help us target industries and occupations with the greatest risk, and identify where we can make the greatest impact in protecting workers.”

Examples of recent research includes:

  • Robots and exoskeletons: NIOSH is working to address the risks and benefits of using robots and exoskeletons, and develop guidance for safe interactions between humans and robots. See our recent blogs on working safely with robots and wearable exoskeletons or robotic-like suits.
  • Nanotechnology: NIOSH is at the forefront of efforts to understand the safety ramifications of working with nanomaterials (see our nanotechnology topic page). NIOSH explosion testing on 20 types of carbonaceous particles showed that certain types of carbonaceous particles fall into a St 1 (Explosion) category, with properties similar to those of wood dust or coal dust.
  • Wearable devices: NIOSH recently published research on the first iteration of a wearable device that monitors chemical vapors and location for workers. NIOSH is working with stakeholders to further develop the device and adapt it for the oil and gas industry and laboratory safety. For those who work alone, research is underway on a device to measure worker location and exposure in the time of an incapacitating, serious, or fatal events.