Office of Extramural Programs
Lead and support national occupational safety and health programs to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses through diverse quality-driven extramural research, education, and training in collaboration with world-wide partners.
To facilitate and oversee extramural grant and cooperative agreements, NIOSH has established the Office of Extramural Programs (OEP). OEP is located within the NIOSH Office of the Director. The OEP staff is organized as outlined below. To send an e-mail to any of the OEP staff members, simply click on their name.
OEP Director’s Office (404-498-2530):
Research and Training Program Administration:
Scientific Review Activity:
Assistant Director for Review and Policy - Charles Rafferty, Ph.D.
In conjunction with OEP, the Procurement and Grants Office (PGO) of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) performs the business administration for extramural awards.
The purpose of the NIOSH extramural program is to support research projects that are focused on the reduction of workplace risk for injury, illness, and death. NIOSH extramural research covers a wide range of program areas. To better coordinate research efforts, NIOSH is organizing our portfolio into categories that can be readily communicated and strategically governed and evaluated. These categories better portray the complexity and depth of the program portfolio. NIOSH programs are now categorized into:
Each of these categories is displayed in the table below. Colors are used to easily identify the groupings: Industry Sectors are shaded in blue, Cross-Sectors are yellow, and Tools and Emphasis areas are lavender. Descriptive information on the categories is listed below the table. An additional category (Conference Support) is included in the table to assist you in contacting NIOSH about this topic. Contact information is listed for the NIOSH Extramural Scientific Program Administrator assigned to each category. To send an e-mail to a Scientific Program Administrator, simply click on their name.
Additional information on the NIOSH Program Portfolio can be obtained on the Internet at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs
For information on current NIOSH funding opportunities, see: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oep/funding.htm
Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing
The Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in growing crops, raising animals, harvesting timber, and harvesting fish and other animals from a farm, ranch, or their natural habitats. Workers in these industries are at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries, work-related lung diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases, and certain cancers associated with chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. Farming is one of the few industries in which the families (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for injuries, illness, and death. Additional NIOSH information on agriculture can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/agriculture/default.html
The construction sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of buildings or engineering projects (e.g., highways and utility systems). Each day, construction workers face the potential for falls, machinery accidents, electrocutions, and motor vehicle incidents. NIOSH researchers identify causes of, and develop programs to prevent, injuries and fatalities in construction. Additional NIOSH information on construction can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/construction/default.html
Healthcare& Social Assistance
The Health Care and Social Assistance sector comprises establishments providing health care and social assistance for individuals. The sector includes both health care and social assistance because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the boundaries of these two activities. Health care workers face a wide range of hazards on the job, including needlestick injuries, back injuries, latex allergy, violence, and stress. Additional NIOSH information on Health care workers can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/healthcare/
The Manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products. The assembling of component parts of manufactured products is considered manufacturing, except in cases where the activity is classified as construction.
The Mining sector comprises establishments that extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The term mining is used in the broad sense to include quarrying, well operations, beneficiating (e.g., crushing, screening, washing, and flotation), and other preparation customarily performed at the mine site, or as a part of mining activity. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Acts of 1969 and 1977 (http://www.msha.gov/regs/act/mineact77.pdf) charged the Bureau of Mines with conducting mine safety and health research. Both NIOSH and the Bureau of Mines have contributed significant safety improvements to the mining industry. Yet, the risk of being killed in mining is still nearly six times greater than in general industry and the risk of being injured is double that of other industries. While occupational illnesses such as black lung have declined significantly, thousands of mineworkers are adversely impacted each year. Additional NIOSH information on mining can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/
Public and Private Services
This sector includes workers in the following fields: information and publishing industries; finance and insurance; real estate; professional, scientific, and technical services; management; education; arts, entertainment, and recreation; accommodation and food services; repair services; personal services; and public administration.
This sector includes both wholesale and retail trade. Both wholesale and retail trade are comprised of establishments engaged in the sale of merchandise, generally without transformation, and rendering services incidental to the sale of merchandise.
Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities
Transportation and Warehousing includes industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation. The modes of transportation are air, rail, water, road, and pipeline. Utilities is comprised of establishments engaged in the provision of the following utility services: electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply, and sewage removal.
Authoritative Recommendation Development
The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 stipulates that NIOSH shall develop criteria dealing with toxic materials and harmful physical agents and substances. NIOSH is also mandated to develop and establish recommended health standards and make recommendations for new standards.
Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular, Neurological, & Renal Diseases
This category represents diseases that are of long continuance or slow progression. The chronic diseases/disorders in this category are defined by standard disease classification systems, and they pose a significant burden in mortality, morbidity, and cost.
Communication& Information Dissemination
Information dissemination assures the delivery of useful, relevant, and quality scientific information products to workers, employers, and the occupational safety and health community. NIOSH is focused on the continuous improvement of their communication capacity. Included in the array of NIOSH communication tools is NIOSH e-News, a monthly newsletter distributed to subscribers via e-mail. Additional information on NIOSH e-news can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/enews/default.html.
Emergency Preparedness & Response
This category represents protecting the health and safety of workers when disaster strikes, and maintaining emergency capabilities that provide rapid and specific on-site support regarding necessary protections for response workers, investigators, and others affected by the emergency. Additional NIOSH emergency response information can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emres/default.html
NIOSH recognizes the need for global partnership and participation in accomplishing its mission of providing national and world leadership to prevent work-related illnesses and injuries. Global collaborations can take the form of leadership in the WHO global network of occupational health centers, partnerships to investigate alternative approaches to workplace illness and injury reduction and provide technical assistance to put solutions in place, international collaborative research, and building global professional capacity to address workplace hazards through training, information sharing and research experience.
Health Hazard Evaluation
The Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program is a congressionally mandated program in which NIOSH responds to requests for evaluations of workplace health hazards from employers, employees and their representatives, and government agencies. Additional information on HHE can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/
Hearing Loss Prevention
Noise is the most important occupational cause of hearing loss, but solvents, metals, asphyxiants, and heat may also play a role. Hearing disorders may also results from an acute traumatic injury. Additional information on hearing loss can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/
Immune, Dermal, & Infectious Diseases
Allergic conditions are exaggerated immune responses to substances often found in the workplace. The skin represents a large immunologically active site where direct exposures to physical and/or chemical agents can induce allergy or injure the immune system. It is also a portal for the entrance of physical and chemical substances into the body. Impaired immune function can result in uncontrolled inflammation or increased susceptibility to diseases. The immune system is also responsible for controlling and eliminating infectious agents and their products which are transmitted in the workplace.
Disorders of the nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures of the upper and lower limbs, neck, and lower back that are caused, precipitated, or exacerbated by sudden exertion or prolonged exposure to physical factors such as repetition, force, vibration, or awkward posture. Additional information on musculoskeletal disorders can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ergonomics/
Personal Protective Technology
The Personal Protective Technology Program comprises three major activities: research on personal protective technologies with a focus on respiratory protection, sensor technology for monitoring protective equipment and physiological parameters, human performance impact from personal protective equipment and integrated ensembles; development of policy, standards and guidance documents related to personal protective equipment; and testing of respirators for certification and other personal protective equipment for evaluation against recognized national and international standards. Additional information on the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/default.html
Radiation Dose Reconstruction
The Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program conducts activities to assist claimants and support the role of the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (the Act). Additional information on the NIOSH Office of Compensation Analysis and Support can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ocas/default.html
Included in this category are disorders of the upper and lower respiratory tracts and the occupational exposures that induce or exacerbate them. Such exposures include a broad range of inorganic and organic particulate aerosols, wet aerosols, vapors and gases, infectious agents, and other exposures that affect the respiratory system. Health outcomes include diseases of the nose and sinuses, diseases of the conducting airways, diseases of the pulmonary parenchyma, occupationally-transmitted respiratory infections, and other processes that affect the respiratory system.
NIOSH supports a training program to develop specialized professional and paraprofessional personnel in the occupational safety and health field with training in occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, and other fields closely related to occupational safety and health. One type of support is for Education and Research Centers (ERC) which are multidisciplinary awards, with continuing education and outreach components, that address training and research in a cross-cutting and integrated manner. Another type of support is for training project grants (TPG) which are awards made to academic institutions that provide graduate training in one or more of the disciplines listed above. Additional information on NIOSH training grants can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oep/training.html
Traumatic occupational injury is physical damage to body tissue caused by sudden, acute workplace exposure in to physical agents such as mechanical energy, electricity, chemicals, and ionizing radiation, or from the sudden lack of essential agents such as oxygen or heat.
Work Organization & Stress-Related Disorders
This category includes stress-related and psychological disorders in relation to occupational safety and health. It also includes work organization, i.e. the way work processes are structured and managed, and how that affects worker safety and health.
Tools and Emphasis Areas
Economics is the study of how best to allocate limited or scarce resources among competing needs or uses. Applied to occupational safety and health, this concept includes exploring those economic conditions that contribute to or influence the incidence and severity of occupational injury or illness as well as the economic consequences of those incidents and events.
Engineering controls, including substitution, process modification, isolation, and ventilation are primary tools used to reduce or eliminate occupational hazards. While engineering controls are the preferred and most effective means of control, secondary tools such as work practices and personal protective equipment must also be considered as part of an overall control strategy.
The identification, characterization, estimation, and evaluation of workplace hazards. Hazard identification establishes the presence of a situation, condition, or exposure that may result in negative health effects. Exposure characterization describes qualities such as source, magnitude, frequency, duration, and routes of exposure; the hazardous properties of an agent; the organizational structure of the environment; the ergonomic factors; and the potential for interaction with the human body or influence over human behavior. Exposure estimation is accomplished by developing a value, values, or exposure categories that semi-quantitatively or quantitatively describe the exposure(s) of an individual or groups of workers. Exposure evaluation determines the significance of exposures relative to health effects or other benchmarks such as occupational exposure limits, odor thresholds, professional judgment, worker concerns, or legal liability.
The goal of the NIOSH WorkLife Initiative is to understand and promote the kinds of work environments, programs, and policies that result in healthy, productive workers with reduced disease and injury care needs and costs. Programs attentive to health threats from work that also support reduction or control of out-of-work health risk are a means to this end. Additional information on the WorkLife Initiative can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/worklife/
Occupational Health Disparities
Priority populations are defined as groups of workers who have (1) biological, social, or economic characteristics that place them at increased risk of developing work-related conditions, and (2) inadequate information collected about them in the past. They may be disproportionately exposed to hazards and unusually vulnerable to exposures. And they may have less access to or lower quality of care after acquiring an illness or injury. These special populations include minority workers, female workers, younger and older workers, workers with medical or genetic susceptibility, workers with disabilities, immigrant workers, and migrant and agricultural workers. Occupational health disparities are the specific physical and mental health outcomes that arise as a result of these work-related exposures.
Small Business Assistance and Outreach
Included here are a diverse array of efforts to focus research, information and service for small businesses. This program also includes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program. Additional information on the SBIR program can be found at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm#sol
Public health surveillance is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data for purposes of improving health and safety. Key to public health surveillance is the dissemination and use of data to improve health. Occupational health surveillance can be viewed as the tracking of occupational injuries, illnesses, hazards, and exposures. Occupational surveillance data are used to guide efforts to improve worker safety and health, and to monitor trends and progress over time.
Other Areas of Interest
NIOSH recognizes the value of supporting high quality scientific meetings that are relevant to the mission of preventing injury, illness, and deaths caused by hazards in the workplace. Additional information on the NIOSH conference grant program can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oep/funding.html#conf