NIOSH Study a Concern

June 4, 2015 – A new health study proposed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concerns NSSGA because its methodology and possible misapplication of the results has RFTR Niosh 400raised questions among NSSGA members and within the broader mining community. The Institute seeks to examine the health and working conditions of current and former metal/non-metal (MNM) miners and contractors, focusing first on metal mines in the western U.S. In the announcement, the agency expressed concern that it doesn’t have sufficient current information on the health and working conditions of mine industry workers and intends to conduct on-site surveys of willing MNM miners and their working conditions. NIOSH proposes to employ such tools as employee health questionnaires, chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests, and blood tests. Though supportive of NIOSH’s underlying goals, NSSGA’s initial review left concerns that some of NIOSH’s data-gathering methodology may be flawed, and that their intended methods for and use of the results to develop workplace “interventions” are not defined.