BOX 2-1

Definitions of Common Terms

Epidemiology The study of the distribution of, and the physical, biological, social, cultural, and behavioral factors that influence, health-related states or events in specified populations. Epidemiology also includes the application of this study to control of health problems (SOURCE: Last, 2001).

Industrial hygiene The science and art devoted to the recognition, evaluation, and control of the environmental factors or stresses arising from or in the workplace that may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort and inefficiency among workers or among persons in the community; the profession that anticipates and controls unhealthy conditions of work to prevent illness among employees (SOURCE: Last, 2001).

Occupational medicine The specialized practice of medicine, public health, and ancillary health professions in an occupational setting in order to promote health and prevent occupationally related disease and injury (SOURCE: Last, 2001).

Surveillance The systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data regarding a health-related event for use in public health action to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve health (SOURCE: MMWR, 2001b:2).

intermediate outcomes (such as reductions in hazardous exposures), and end outcomes (reduction in occupational illness). A simplified version of the logic model (shown in Appendix A, Figure 2) has been used in reviews of the other NIOSH research programs.

This chapter provides a historical context for the program and describes HHE Program inputs, activities, and outputs. The relevance of these components is assessed in Chapter 3. Stakeholder response to and impacts resulting from HHE activities are discussed primarily in Chapter 4.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency charged with protecting worker safety and health by setting and enforcing workplace standards. However, many hazards, such as certain chemicals used in commerce or conditions that cause musculoskeletal disorders are not regulated by standards, and many existing standards may be obsolete. When occupational illness is suspected, OSHA workers and employers rely on the HHE Program to identify illness-causing hazards and to recommend control solutions.

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