Small Grants in Occupational Safety and Health Research

Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Small Grants in Occupational Safety and Health Research


In today's society, Americans are working more hours than ever before. The workplace environment profoundly affects human health; each one of us, simply by going to work each day, may face hazards that threaten our health and safety. Risking one's life or health should never be considered merely part of the job. In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to ensure Americans the right to safe and healthful working conditions, yet workplace hazards continue to inflict a tremendous toll in both human and economic costs.

In 1996, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners in the public and private sectors developed the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to provide a framework to guide occupational safety and health research into the next decade, not only for NIOSH, but also for all of the occupational safety and health community. This attempt to guide and coordinate research nationally is responsive to a broadly perceived need to address systematically those topics that are most pressing and most likely to yield gains to the worker and the nation.

Potential applicants may obtain a copy of the NORA by calling 1-800-356-4674 or visiting http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora.html. The agenda identifies 21 research priorities and reflects an attempt to consider both current and emerging needs. The priority areas are not ranked; each is considered to be of equal importance. The NORA priority research areas are grouped into three categories. They are: 1) disease and injury--allergic and irritant dermatitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fertility and pregnancy abnormalities, hearing loss, infectious diseases, low back disorders, musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities, and traumatic injuries; 2) work environment and workforce--emerging technologies, indoor environment, mixed exposures, organization of work, and special populations at risk; and 3) research tools and approaches--cancer research methods, control technology and personal protective equipment, exposure assessment methods, health services research, intervention effectiveness research, risk assessment methods, social and economic consequences of workplace illness and injury, and surveillance research methods. …

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