Online Program

NIOSH's Total Worker Health Agenda: An agenda outside of NIOSH's statutory authority

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:46 p.m.

Rebecca Reindel, MS, MPH, Safety and Health Department, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC
Work is a critical determinant of health: Work exposures and stressors are responsible for increasing workers’ risks for injuries, illness and death; and increasing the public health burden of disease. By the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health was created to address workplace acquired disease and injuries, and to research safety and health hazards in the workplace in order to develop criteria for standard setting by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. NIOSH fulfills this mission with the strongest of scientific standards and research methods, but has recently proposed a National Total Worker Health Agenda that 1) removes industrial materials, processes and stresses, and unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, as major determinants of occupational illness, and 2) abandons the well-accepted and widely used hierarchy of controls in reducing injury, illness and death in the workplace. As the only research institute of its kind, NIOSH maintains unique authority to direct the state and direction of occupational safety and health research. By funding Total Worker Health research projects in its current direction, NIOSH creates a dangerous pathway that strays away from truly preventive and root cause control methods in eliminating workplace hazards, disease and death. This session will describe the authority given to NIOSH by the OSH Act, discuss NIOSH's role as a public health agency and outline the role of NIOSH's proposed Total Worker Health Agenda within this scope of authority.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Compare and contrast statutory language that created NIOSH, including the Agency's assigned roles and functions, with the proposed Total Worker Health Agenda. Describe the current burden of injury, illness and death caused by hazards in the workplace. Define NIOSH's use of the hierarchy of controls and its effectiveness in reducing injury, illness and death in the workplace. Examine NIOSH's role in identifying and recommending ways to address occupational causes of injury, illness and death.

Keyword(s): Wellness, Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been in the field of occupational safety and health for seven years, in different capacities including scientific and field research, academia, occupational health and safety regulatory work, and standard and guideline setting. For work, I am deeply familiar and involved with federal agency missions directed to protect worker health and safety.
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.