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February 7, 2018

NIOSH Final Research Agenda for Manufacturing Addresses Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a Federal Register notice on January 31, 2018, announcing the availability of the final National Occupational Research Agenda for Manufacturing.  NIOSH states that the National Occupational Research Agenda for Manufacturing “is intended to identify the knowledge and actions most urgently needed to identify occupational risk factors to prevent avoidable adverse health outcomes among workers.”  The Agenda “provides a vehicle for stakeholders to describe the most relevant issues, research gaps, and safety and health needs for the Manufacturing sector.”  As reported in our August 24, 2017, blog item, the draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Manufacturing referred to nanomaterials.  The final Agenda includes the following objectives and references to nanomaterials:

  • 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 final 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 final 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.