(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 22, 2016

22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data regarding injuries, deaths, and illness faced by millions every year in the workplace. This week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) issue is devoted to occupational health concerns, in acknowledgment of Workers Memorial Day (April 28th).

Work-related fatal injuries remain a serious concern in U.S. workplaces. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 a total of 4679 U.S. workers died from work-related injuries. Unlike injuries, most deaths from work-related illness are not captured by national surveillance systems.

This year’s Workers’ Memorial Day issue reports new estimates of worker hearing impairment from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. About 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common U.S. work-related illness. NIOSH works to identify existing health data, such as the audiometric data analyzed in this report that can be used for occupational health surveillance.

This MMWR issue also announces the third Fall Safety Stand-Down campaign.The NIOSH Construction Program, along with partners, will be participating in the Safety Stand Down, which encourages companies across the nation to “stand down” by pausing work on their construction sites and dedicating time toward activities that promote the prevention of injuries and fatalities from falls. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the leading cause of death on the nearly 9.4 million construction sites in the U.S.

This year’s issue will also include a Notes from the Field report from NIOSH’s Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) program, which investigated an exposure of hospital environmental services staff members to a cleaning product that likely led to respiratory symptoms in thirty employees. The NIOSH HHE team provided the employer and employees with recommendations for preventing future harmful exposures.

For more information about the CDC-NIOSH HHE program see

Workers’ Memorial Day is observed annually on April 28; it recognizes workers who died or suffered injury due to exposures to hazards at work. As we pay homage to those who have been hurt or killed at work, CDC-NIOSH continues its focus on the future of the workplace and seek solutions vital to reducing risks of injury and illness among the America’s workforce.