Friday, January 1, 2010

NIOSH and OSHA, Divergent Paths to OSH Act

It's time for OSHA and NIOSH to work together in a comprehensive collaborative effort instead of the divergent manner that has been occurring in the past. The OSH Act 1970 mandated that NIOSH would carry out the policy set forth in Section 2 - Congressional Findings and Purpose of the Act and to perform the functions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services under Section 20 - Research and Related Activities and Section 21 - Training and Employee Education of the Act.

NIOSH has been conducting an excellent job in research, education, and outreach, providing stakeholders in the nation's workplace with their excellent products. The problem is that many of their products cannot be found on the OSHA Safety and Health Topics Pages. Many businesses are not aware of NIOSH, which is federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

OSHA in addition to conducting enforcement and inspection activities in the workplace also has many excellent occupational health and safety products. In contrast many stakeholders are aware of OSHA activities through citations and their collaborative outreach programs and educational resources available on the OSHA website. The problem with the OSHA and NIOSH educational resources and products is that they are located on two different websites.

For example, viewing OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages., one of the first topics in the search drop-down menu is Agricultural Operations There are many excellent links to:

In contrast, when comparing the OSHA Safety and Health Topics Pages to the NIOSH Safety and Health Topic Agricultural Page, many subjects that NIOSH has determined are important concerning occupational health and safety cannot be found on the OSHA pages. All the educational resources from NIOSH and OSHA are excellent, but wouldn't it make sense to combine the wealth of information that is currently located on two different website into one location?

Agricultural topics is just one example where the discrepancy arises. What about the dozens of other topics where OSHA provides helpful information on their Topic pages Index in addition to the NIOSH A-Z Index. With the technology on the Internet, an IT manager can combine the two in a seamless easy to use manner. Lets bring the OSH Act back as the Congress intended nearly four decades ago with OSHA and NIOSH working together in unison.

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