BOX 5-3: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which pledged "safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women..." created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH, part of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is the Federal institute charged with conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work- related diseases and injuries. Its responsibilities, supported by $108 million in fiscal year 1993, include: conducting research and developing methods for evaluating work place hazards; responding to employer and employee requests to investigate possible hazardous working conditions; recommending methods for preventing occupational disease, injury, and disability to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Health and Safety Administration (MSHA), industry, and employee organizations; and providing education and training to prepare individuals for careers in the field of occupational safety and health.

Eight current in-house and three extramural research projects related to psychological disorders include studies in various work environments on the relationship between work practices and organizational factors (leadership, communication style, etc.), stressors, performance, and health effects. Total funding for these stress related activities equals $786,962, 0.73 percent of NIOSH's total budget. Other stress-related activities include two American Psychological Association--NIOSH national meetings on stress and the work place; an analysis of data on the relationship between suicide and different occupations; and the development of an improved questionnaire for assessing job stress and strain. Nothing in NIOSH's current research portfolio addresses the relationship between work and disabilities in general, psychiatric disabilities specifically, or the ADA. However, the Senate Report "Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill 1993" (Report 102-397) requested that NIOSH provide recommendations to the Senate Appropriations Committee onthe ADA. In response to this request, NIOSH responded that with "appropriate and additional resources and staff," the agency could best address the ADA by focusing on the health and safety implications of employing people with disabilities.

SOURCE: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1993.

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