The Monthly Newsletter of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Volume 18 Number 04, August 2020

NIOSH Facebook

NIOSH Twitter


NIOSH Instagram



Update on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response

New Resources

NIOSH Science Blogs

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing
CDC has published Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in Nonhealthcare Workplaces. This information will help employers understand how to collaborate with health departments during COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing.

Carpooling Infographic

CDC has developed an infographic with suggestions for how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when carpooling to and from work.

How and What to Communicate to Employees About COVID-19

CDC has published the COVID-19 Communication Plan for Select Non-healthcare Critical Infrastructure Employers. This document suggests how and what to communicate to employees, including communication channels and messages


Upcoming Webinar

August 19, 2:00–3:30 p.m. (EDT): Sharing Science and Lessons Learned: COVID-19 and Wildfire

This webinar will present information about the current state of the science and lessons learned from the 2020 wildfire season. NIOSH speakers will provide an overview and updates on COVID-19, current CDC testing strategies and guidance, and current infection prevention procedures. Registration for the webinar is required.


From the Director's Desk
John Howard, M.D., Director, NIOSH

International Overdose Awareness Day: August 31


As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches, during a year of interlinked public health crises, NIOSH reflects on the work that has been done and the road ahead in the wake of the nation’s overdose epidemic and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Road to Recovery

Photo by ©Thinkstock               

In 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the United States. Of these deaths, 46,802 deaths, or 69%, were attributed to opioids. From 2012 to 2018, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants such as methamphetamine increased nearly five-fold, and overdose deaths involving cocaine tripled.1  From 2011 to 2016, there was an annual increase of 24% in occupational drug overdose deaths.2  Clinically diagnosed substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder, are medical and public health problems that can affect workers and conditions in the workplace. People without formal diagnoses of substance use disorders are also at risk for overdoses.  


Substance use disorder can not only impact the ability to function safely at work, it can also hinder return to work following an injury or illness, which in turn may negatively affect a person’s livelihood. Increased stress and anxiety and reduced coping strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to increased alcohol and substance use, which could compound the impact of the overdose epidemic. 3,4,5

To respond to these growing risks among workers, NIOSH has worked diligently to provide information and resources for employers and workers on substance use, overdose prevention, and treatment.


Read More


Research Rounds

Inside NIOSH:
Job Transfers Often Too Late to Prevent Progression to Severe Black Lung Disease in Coal Miners
Many coal miners with black lung disease who transferred to jobs with lower dust exposure still progressed to more severe forms of the disease, according to new research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. These findings indicate that coal miners may be transferring when it is already too late to prevent the disease from progressing.

Outside NIOSH:
No Small Task: Understanding Safety and Health Motivators in Small Businesses
What factors influence workplace safety and health behaviors? Past studies point to workers’ personal motives or the companies’ organizational climate. This refers to workers’ perception of what practices a workplace rewards and supports. NIOSH-funded researchers at the Center for Health, Work & Environment aimed to understand how these different factors interact to influence workers’ safety and health behavior in small businesses.




Join NIOSH and Partners for Safe + Sound Week, August 10–16
Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs. During August 10–16, NIOSH, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training and other partners will join with workers and job creators for Safe + Sound Week to share information on how to keep America's workers safe. Workplace health and safety programs can identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness.

Safe Lifting Infographic for Pregnant Workers Now Available in Spanish 
How much can a healthy pregnant worker lift at work? NIOSH is aiming to address this question by proposing clinical guidelines with provisional recommended weight limits. A new Spanish language infographic shows how the proposed guidelines could be useful to occupational health practitioners in the evaluation and redesign of lifting tasks and to clinicians in advising patients about manual lifting restrictions at work.

Updated Software Makes It Easier to Model Fire and Contaminant Spread
The NIOSH Mining Program recently released an updated version of its MFIRE software to model fire and contaminant spread in underground mines. Originally released as a DOS-based program in 1977, the software has been completely rewritten in the C++ operating language and packaged into a dynamic link library (DLL). With this update, ventilation network data are obtained via common memory instead of the standard MFIRE data output files. The software’s DLL can easily be used by other programs. Check out the link above to find out more!

New Guidance Released for Health Care Workers Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis C  
On July 24, CDC published updated guidance on Testing and Clinical Management of Health Care Personnel Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis C Virus in MMWR Recommendations and Reports. CDC previously established recommendations for managing occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis C virus (HCV). This new algorithm incorporates current guidance and replaces the 2016 HCV testing algorithm for HCV-exposed HCP. CDC will host a webinar on August 6 at 1 p.m. (EDT) to brief public health partners and health care provider organizations on the new guidance. Find out more and register for the webinar.

NIOSH Seeks Surveillance Research Team Lead

NIOSH is currently looking for a GS -14 Research Epidemiologist (all US citizens or merit promotion) or Research Statistician (all US citizens or merit promotion) to serve as a team lead in the NIOSH laboratory in Morgantown West Virginia. The individual will lead a team of seven professionals who conduct applied surveillance research using a variety of occupational injury and fatality data systems. Research describes the burden, patterns and trends in occupational injuries and makes recommendations for worker safety. The Team Lead is also responsible for developing his or her own surveillance research activities within the Team. The position is open through August 17 .

Monthly Features

This monthly e-newsletter is published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to inform members of the occupational safety and health community, including partners, employers, workers, and other stakeholders, of NIOSH-related news, new publications, and updates on programs, research, and initiatives.


CDC Facebook

CDC Twitter

CDC Streaming Health

CDC Instagram


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Rd   Atlanta, GA 30329   1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)   TTY: 888-232-6348
Questions or Problems  |  Unsubscribe