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August 24, 2017

NIOSH Draft Research Agenda for Manufacturing Addresses Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On August 23, 2017, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a Federal Register notice requesting comment on its draft National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Manufacturing for public comment.  The NORA Manufacturing Sector Council wrote the Agenda, which “identifies the most important occupational safety and health research needs for the next decade, 2016-2026.”  According to NIOSH, the Agenda provides a vehicle for industry stakeholders to describe the most relevant issues, gaps, and safety and health needs for the sector.  The draft Agenda includes the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: Reduce the burden of acute and chronic occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities in manufacturing by:  (a) enhancing knowledge of occupational safety and health hazards and their effects; and (b) developing effective interventions to reduce exposure to known occupational safety and health hazards.  The draft Agenda states:  “Exposure to hazards associated with repetitive hand-intensive work, manual material assembling and handling, nanomaterials, excessive noise, and chemicals contribute greatly to debilitating acute and chronic conditions in the manufacturing industry.”
  • Objective 2: Improve surveillance of work-related hazards, exposures, and illnesses in the manufacturing industry
  • Objective 3: Examine emerging risks from new technologies and explore ways in which new technologies can advance occupational safety and health in manufacturing.  According to the draft Agenda, new technologies that are reshaping the manufacturing industry include nanotechnologies.
  • Objective 4: Improve occupational safety and health for workers in non-traditional employment arrangements.
  • Objective 5: Advance capacity-building and educational efforts in manufacturing.
  • Objective 6: Develop mechanisms for effective translation of research into practice in the manufacturing sector.

Comments are due October 23, 2017.