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What is niosh?

Updated April 17, 2017

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) develops and establishes occupational health and safety standards, conducts research to develop new criteria for improving health and safety standards and makes recommendations on those standards.

Origins

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created NIOSH. It is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Function

Some activities NIOSH agents may undertake include the investigation of hazardous working conditions, evaluation of workplace hazards, providing scientifically valid recommendations for worker protection after research, and education and training for individuals working or preparing to work in the field of occupational safety or health.

Considerations

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is responsible for investigation and fines after workplace injuries, but NIOSH is responsible for researching and developing policies to prevent workplace injuries before they happen.

Geography

NIOSH is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but there are NIOSH laboratories and offices in Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Spokane, Washington.

Significance

NIOSH's Firefighter Fatality Investigation Program, which began in 1998, has investigated more than 300 fire-related deaths and made more than 1,000 recommendations based on those investigations.

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About the Author

April Bamburg is a freelance writer with experience at a twice-weekly newspaper in Northwest Oregon. Since 2005, she's written for a variety of outlets including the Mills College Alumnae magazine, "The Chronicle" in St. Helens, "Vernonia's Voice" in Vernonia, and Examiner.com. Bamburg received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism (with emphasis in communication studies) from the University of Oregon.