Engineers Solve Workplace Safety and Health Problems

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) employs nearly 250 engineers and engineering technicians who identify, evaluate, develop, and implement engineering control technology to prevent occupational disease and injury.

NIOSH engineers solve problems with innovative ideas for many industrial sectors including manufacturing, construction, mining, and healthcare. Many of these solutions are adopted by industry, saving the lives and improving the health of American workers.

Engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. Examples of engineering controls include local exhaust ventilation to capture and remove airborne emissions at the source or machine guards to shield a worker from serious physical harm such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, blindness or hearing loss.

Well-designed engineering controls are highly effective and typically do not interfere with job productivity or personal comfort. Frequently, engineering controls make the work more productive and easier to perform rather than more difficult.

NIOSH researchers represent a variety of engineering disciplines (mechanical, electrical, industrial, chemical, mining, safety, and acoustical) are in a unique position to protect workers. They conduct prevention-oriented research in the field of occupational safety and health (OSH) and collaborate with other OSH experts such as industrial hygienists and physicists on a national and sometimes international scale to develop these successful solutions.

NIOSH leads a national initiative called Prevention through Design (PtD) to prevent or reduce occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities through the inclusion of prevention considerations in all design aspects that impact workers.