The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Unveiled in 1996, NORA has become a research framework for NIOSH and the nation. Diverse parties collaborate to identify the most critical issues in workplace safety and health. Partners then work together to develop goals and objectives for addressing these needs.
NORA has formed eight Sector Councils: Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing, Construction, Healthcare/Social Assistance, Manufacturing, Mining, Services/Public Safety, Transportation/Warehousing/Utilities, and Wholesale/Retail Trade. Each council is made up of representatives from academia, industry, labor, and government. The councils use an open process to set goals, develop strategies, encourage partnerships, and promote improved workplace practices.
NIOSH/NORA has undertaken an ambitious program to improve safety and health in the workplace. Each of the councils has drafted goals, performance measures, and implementation plans for the nation. These agendas will provide guidance to the entire occupational safety and health community for moving research to practice in workplaces. In addition, a Cross-sector Research Council will be formed to identify opportunities for common research across sectors.
One of the most far-reaching programs supporting the NIOSH/NORA agenda is a national strategy for Prevention Through Design (PtD). One of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to "design out" or minimize hazards and risks early in the design process. PtD includes the design of work premises, structures, tools, plants, equipment, machinery, substances, work methods, and systems of work. To this end NIOSH is leading a national initiative called Prevention through Design (PtD) to promote this concept and highlight its importance in all business decisions.
The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is an effort facilitated by NIOSH that invites partners to work together to define research priorities, conduct the research and move the results into workplace practice to benefit the health of workers. It is described on the NORA portion of the NIOSH website at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora. NORA was started in 1996 and engaged a number of partners in accomplishing research and outreach activities that could not have been done by any single organization. For the first ten years, NORA priorities were defined as 21 areas, such as, Hearing Loss, Traumatic Injuries, Organization of Work, Special Populations at Risk, and Intervention Effectiveness Research.
As it entered its second decade, NORA was restructured around eight sector groups to enhance research-to-practice (r2p). The thinking was that if we want to improve our impact on the health of workers, we need to meet them where they are. By partnering with corporations, unions, trade associations, professional associations and many others who tend to identify themselves with sectors, we are establishing better communication about the issues that are most important for researchers to tackle, the opportunities to work together to conduct the research, and avenues for applying the research results to reduce the burden of occupational injuries and diseases on workers, employers and the nation.