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March 13, 2018

NIOSH Publishes Workplace Design Solutions Addressing Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began its Prevention through Design (PtD) initiative in 2007.  NIOSH states that its mission is to reduce or prevent occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by considering hazard prevention in the design, re-design, and retrofit of new and existing workplaces, tools, equipment, and work processes.  On March 9, 2018, NIOSH published three documents in its Workplace Design Solutions series.  NIOSH recommends that manufacturers and downstream users of nanomaterials develop PtD strategies to protect workers during the handling of engineered nanomaterials. NIOSH states that engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard, and along with good material handling techniques, they are likely to be the most effective control strategy for nanomaterials.  According to NIOSH, the identification and adoption of effective control technologies is an important first step in reducing the risk associated with worker exposure to engineered nanomaterials and associated byproducts.  The publications are: