Although you’re usually well aware of workplace health hazards, they might not always be obvious. A health hazard evaluation (HHE) from the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) can determine whether your workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions that might create health problems.
An HHE request can be filed by any employee (with the signature of two other workers), a union officer, or a manager. NIOSH will keep the name of the requestor confidential, if asked.
The agency logs in the request and usually sends a letter to the person making the request within a few weeks. If NIOSH decides that a phone consultation or a workplace visit is needed, it assigns a project officer within four to six weeks who will get in touch with the requesting party If this is an employee or union, the agency will inform the employer about the request and arrange to visit the site (NIOSH seldom conducts surprise visits).
The agency reports its initial conclusions to employers, employees, and employee representatives, either during a conference at the conclusion of a site visit, or by telephone. After analyzing all the information and data, NIOSH gives a final report of findings and recommendations, with copies to the requesting party, employer, union representative, OSHA, and other appropriate agencies.
The agency requires the employer is required to post the final report in a place accessible to employees from all areas evaluated. Although NIOSH cannot force an employer to adopt its recommendations, experience has shown that most employers attempt to address the problems the report identifies.
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