Online Program

Development of a Climate Change Research Agenda for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:18 a.m. - 9:34 a.m.

Max Kiefer, MS, CIH, Denver Federal Center, CDC/NIOSH, Denver, CO
Joanna Watson, MSc, DPhil, CDC/NIOSH Western States Division, Spokane, WA
Background and Objectives: In response to growing evidence that climate change presents new, and amplifies existing, occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified climate change as an emphasis area for research. Our objectives were to identify OSH research needs related to climate change and develop a strategic research agenda to identify and address existing worker hazards and emerging issues.

Methods: In 2014, a NIOSH interdisciplinary workgroup was formed. Workgroup members used a variety of methods to identify OSH climate change research needs, including: conducting a comprehensive literature review; developing an inventory of current NIOSH climate change research; identifying and consulting with stakeholders; and participating in interagency panels and groups. Research needs related to climate change and OSH were then identified and prioritized into a strategic research plan.

Results: Research priorities that were identified during the development of the strategic research agenda include: describing and quantifying workers affected by climate change; characterizing the hazards from the direct effects of climate change such as severe weather events, heat, wildland fire and infectious disease; identifying worker hazards resulting from how we address climate change, such as the development of renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and material substitution; developing surveillance methods to identify emerging OSH issues associated with climate change.

Conclusions: Although there is evidence that climate change is and will present OSH hazards, numerous critical research questions need to be resolved regarding specific hazards, sentinel events, risk assessment, and preventive actions.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the occupational safety and health research needs associated with climate change. Describe the NIOSH climate change initiative and the elements of a climate change research agenda.

Keyword(s): Climate and Health, Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 10 years experience in epidemiology and public health research and practice, and am the project officer for the NIOSH Climate Change Initiative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.