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Selected Category: Prevention Through Design

Green Buildings and Human Health

Categories: Construction, Green, Prevention Through Design

Earlier this year I participated in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Summit on Green Buildings and Human Health. At USGBC’s invitation, I authored a blog that appears on their website. We are co-posting the blog on the NIOSH Science Blog. The Summit was very successful, and USGBC is open to including worker issues into their initiatives. Please share your thoughts on this important issue in the comment section below.

 

Tackling the many challenges of making the construction and occupation of commercial and residential buildings in the United States green and sustainable is not an easy one, but the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is to be congratulated for working aggressively to address them. Championing commitments to environmental sustainability, energy reduction, social equity, and human health demonstrate the commitment of the USGBC to take steps that will benefit both the environment and the businesses that construct, as well as occupy, these structures. LEED[1] has evolved over time on a trajectory towards true sustainability. USGBC is to be commended further for looking introspectively at how health is considered in LEED, and the relative priority given to energy and environmental factors.

Buy Quiet

Categories: Engineering Control, Hearing Loss, Manufacturing, Prevention Through Design

a circular sawWe know that using tools and machinery that produce less noise will help prevent hearing loss among the workers who use them. The next step would seem obvious—buy quieter tools and machinery. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Making products quieter is a tough sell in industry. Currently, the availability of quieter tools and machines is limited and it’s not always clear to purchasers how much noise particular tools and machinery produce. NIOSH and its partners are working to change that through the creation of a Buy Quiet web tool.

This web tool will build on the process of “buy quiet”—the concept that employers can most effectively reduce hazardous noise levels at their worksites through their procurement process.

Prevention through Design Standard

Categories: Engineering Control, Manufacturing, Policy and Programs, Prevention Through Design

PtD logoThe American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently announced the approval of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSE standard, “Prevention through Design: Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes” (Z590.3). This new standard provides guidance on including Prevention through Design concepts within an occupational safety and health management system, and can be applied in any occupational setting.

The new standard focuses specifically on the avoidance, elimination, reduction and control of occupational safety and health hazards and risks in the design and redesign process. Through the application of the concepts presented in the standard, decisions about occupational hazards and risks can be incorporated into the process of design and redesign of work areas, tools, equipment, machinery, substances and work processes.

Safety Has Not Been Asked to Prom

Categories: Green, Prevention Through Design

a shimmering mirrored ballGreen is sexy. It’s in vogue. It gets splashed on billboards and endorsed by celebrities. Safety on the other hand? Not so much. Over the past few years, the environmental movement has picked up steam and seeped into the national consciousness. Heck, even school kids can tell you what it means to be green—and they’ll probably even throw in that it’s cool, to boot. Occupational safety has remained a niche topic, the domain of industrial hygienists, regulators, and technical experts. The only school kids discussing it are working on advanced degrees. Let’s face it: Jack Johnson hasn’t written any songs about worker safety and health.

Green and safety are both related to behavior changes that take place at national, organizational, and personal levels. They share an impetus for action. Categorically, the motivations that move nations, organizations, and people to behave in environmentally friendly ways are the same as those that encourage safe work practices.

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