NIOSH Initiative Focuses on Worker Safety and Health in Green Jobs

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is launching a new initiative with its partners to highlight the importance of incorporating worker safety and health into green jobs and environmental sustainability and to develop guidance for preventing occupational injuries and illnesses in these growing sectors.

As a first step in this initiative, NIOSH introduced a new Web page, "Going Green: Safe and Healthy Jobs," which will serve as an evolving portal to information and resources being developed or identified by NIOSH and its diverse partners. The initial contents of the Web page include links to selected NIOSH resources on industry sectors and specific topics related to green jobs, which are defined broadly as jobs that help to improve the environment.

"As America invests in economic recovery and a clean, secure future, we and our partners have an opportunity to reaffirm the longstanding bonds between occupational safety, health, and environmental stewardship," said NIOSH Acting Director Christine M. Branche, Ph.D. "In laying the groundwork for green jobs and industries, it is important, as with any emerging industry, to make sure that worker safety and health protections are not overlooked. We are pleased that the new web page, as an initial product of our interest in this area, will offer convenient access to information and a focus for strategizing on needs and opportunities."

Opportunities for NIOSH and its partners under "Going Green: Safe and Healthy Jobs" include:

  • Enhancing the safety and health protection of the U.S. work force;
  • Expanding and applying occupational safety and health knowledge to new workplaces, products, and processes; and
  • Ensuring that worker training and re-training for these new jobs includes relevant safety and health information.

The initial contents of the NIOSH "Going Green" site include links to resources on the following industry sectors: agriculture; construction; manufacturing; services; and transportation, warehousing and utilities. Links also are included to resources on relevant topics, such as chemicals, falls from elevations, outdoor work, highway work zone safety, machine safety, nanotechnology, hearing loss prevention, protective clothing and respirators. New information will be added on an ongoing basis.

NIOSH will conduct a workshop on Dec. 14-16, 2009, to help frame issues of incorporating occupational safety and health considerations into green and sustainability efforts. The workshop will include invited participants and limited space will be available to the public.

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