The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the U.S. federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent worker injury and illness. NIOSH has more than 1,200 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics and many branches of engineering.
Join the NASA Safety Center for our next event as we take a look at the depth and breadth of resources available through NIOSH. Guest speakers from NIOSH - Steve Wurzelbacher, director of the Center for Workers' Compensation Studies, Amanda Harney, health communication specialist, and Ted Scharf, research psychologist - will discuss
- NIOSH and what it does
- Current research
- History with NASA
- Past support of US agencies
- How best to utilize NIOSH's wealth of experience and information
Steve Wurzelbacher is the director of the Center for Workers’ Compensation
Studies at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. In this
role, he coordinates workers’ compensation trending analyses and safety
and health intervention effectiveness studies with public and private industry
Wurzelbacher has worked for over 15 years in the safety and health field,
as both a researcher and as a loss control practitioner for a workers'
compensation insurance carrier. He has a Ph.D. in occupational safety and ergonomics from the University of Cincinnati and is a certified professional
Amanda M.G. Harney is a lead communication specialist with the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the Office of the
Director. She has been heavily involved in the health communication
activities of NIOSH, including conducting health communication research,
intervention activities and evaluations; developing communication products;
providing assistance, guidance and consultation to managers and
researchers; and developing strategies for effectively transferring research
into workplace practice.
In 2010, Harney began managing the NIOSH Research to Practice Program—
its mission is to drive the successful transfer of NIOSH-generated knowledge,
interventions and technologies to impact worker safety and health through
relevant and evidence-based research.
Harney received a Bachelor of Arts in communications as well as a Master of public health in Environmental and
Occupational Health from Saint Louis University. She has worked at NIOSH in the area of health communications since
NIOSH was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 as the federal agency that conducts research
and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. Organizationally, it is part of
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Ted Scharf, Ph.D., is a Research Psychologist at the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Scharf conducts research, interventions and training evaluations focusing
on hazardous work environments in the construction and agriculture
industries and in emergency response. He has been fortunate to work with
NIOSH colleagues in the mining industry as well. The central focus of his
work is the dual-attention demand (for both productivity and safety) that
is required of workers in constantly changing, hazardous work environments.
Recent focus groups and curriculum development with ironworkers have
taken place in a participatory action-research format. This approach
emphasizes “practice-to-research,” as advocated by the NIOSH r2p program.
His most recent study is a training evaluation in hazard recognition with
ironworker apprentices. The hazard recognition curriculum has been
disseminated to more than 50 ironworker locals throughout North America during two summer training programs for
ironworker instructors. The curriculum is anticipated to be presented again in the 2014 summer training program.
Scharf leads the recently established Safety Climate and Culture Working Group under the Work Organization and Stress
-Related Disorders cross-sector program within the NIOSH program portfolio. He also leads an intervention evaluation
competition for the bi-annual Work, Stress and Health Conference, co-sponsored by the American Psychological
Association, NIOSH and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.
He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, with an emphasis in
environmental psychology and quasi-experimental research methodology.
NIOSH was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the same legislation that initiated the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA was placed in the Department of Labor and regulates
occupational safety and health throughout the United States. NIOSH was placed in the Department of Health and
Human Services (formerly Health, Education and Welfare) and is charged with conducting research and making
recommendations regarding occupational safety and health issues (both unregulated and regulated topics).