NIOSH stands for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This is a US federal agency that is responsible for conducting various types of research related to work-related injuries, illnesses, and other related issues. Based on the research they perform they will then make recommendations on how to prevent these types of problems from occurring in the future. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is within the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Goals of the NIOSH
The goals of the NIOSH can be seen by looking at their strategic plan. Based on this they have seven goals, which were published by the NIOSH strategic plan for 2019-2023:
- Reduce occupational cancer, cardiovascular disease, adverse reproductive outcomes, and other chronic diseases.
- Reduce occupational hearing loss.
- Reduce occupational immune, infectious, and dermal disease.
- Reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders.
- Reduce occupational respiratory disease.
- Improve workplace safety to reduce traumatic injuries.
- Promote safe and healthy work design and well-being.
NIOSH vs. OSHA
When looking at the roles of NIOSH many people see that it is quite similar to that of OSHA. While they certainly have a lot in common (and often work together), they are not the same. OSHA is a governmental agency that reports to the Department of Labor, while NIOSH reports to the department of health and human services.
NIOSH often provides information and recommendations to OSHA so they can create regulations. The most significant example of this is providing OSHA with their Permissible Exposure Limits, which is one of the most referenced areas of OSHA. While most facilities are going to have more direct interaction from OSHA, it is important to be aware of NIOSH and what they do. In many ways, they are just as responsible for keeping employees and facilities safe as OSHA.