Category: Construction

Using CPWR’s Small Study Program to Explore Emerging and Persistent Health and Safety Hazards and Innovative Solutions in the Construction Industry

  Construction is a complex and high hazard industry. Every day, millions of construction workers are employed on worksites across the United States. Each worksite and type of construction (e.g., residential, highway) involves variables including type of work performed (e.g., electrical, plumbing), number of employers and employees, project designs, materials and products used, and working Read More >

Posted on by Chris Cain, CIH; Patricia Quinn; Richard Rinehart, ScD; Pete Stafford; and Eileen Betit1 Comment

Addressing the Opioid Overdose Epidemic in Construction: Minimize Work Factors that Cause Injury and Pain

Construction workers have been shown in many studies to have high rates of death from overdose compared to workers in other occupations. For example, a study in 2018 showed that, among all occupations, construction workers had the highest rate of death from overdose, including overdose from heroin. Data from 2011-2016 showed that construction workers experienced 15% of all workplace overdose deaths. Read More >

Posted on by Ann Marie Dale, PhD; Brad Evanoff, MD; Brian Gage, MD; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS, MA; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; and L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPHLeave a comment

50 Years of NIOSH Construction Safety and Health Research

  Construction is a high hazard industry with high rates of illnesses and injuries.  The construction industry comprises not only a wide range of activities involving residential and commercial building construction, but also heavy and civil engineering construction, such as water and sewer lines, highways, and bridges. Specialty trades within the sector include masonry, roofing, plumbing, electrical, Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

Take Action Now to Prevent Heat-Related Illness at Work

Before we enter summer, we should plan ahead for work-related heat exposure and the potential for heat-related illness among workers. Exposure to heat combined with physical activity and other factors in the environment can increase the body’s temperature and cause heat stress. The body responds to heat stress by trying to stabilize body temperature, a Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Brenda Jacklitsch, PhD, MS; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; and J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS, MA3 Comments

Preventing Struck-by Injuries in Construction: Lift Zone Safety

The second annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents hosted by the NORA Construction Sector Council will take place April 26th, 2021, during National Work Zone Awareness Week (1). During this event, construction employers and employees will learn about best practices and methods to prevent struck-by incidents. Emphasis has been placed on the prevention of Read More >

Posted on by Kyle Hancock; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH3 Comments

Stand-Down for Falls in Its 8th Year: Continuing Need to Prevent Falls in Construction in the U.S. and Internationally

The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched in 2012 through the NORA Construction Sector Council with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to address the high rate of both fatal and nonfatal falls in the industry. While we encourage participation in the Campaign year-round, Read More >

Posted on by Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Sang D. Choi, Ph.D., MPH(c), CSP, CPE; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPHLeave a comment

COVID-19 Poses Big Challenges for Small Construction Firms

Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals can help small construction firms build safety into their worksites, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small construction firms, with 20 or fewer employees, face constant challenges obtaining safety information and resources. They are less likely to belong to trade associations or be connected to unions, which are common sources Read More >

Posted on by Claudia Parvanta, PhD; Tessa Bonney, MPH, PhD; Lee Newman, MD, MA; Eileen Betit; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

Envisioning the Future of Construction: Challenges and Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health

Introduction Today’s construction industry is quite different than what existed just a few decades ago. These days, it is much less common to see workers hauling around rolls of hand drawn blueprints, punching numbers into printing calculators, or fiddling with slide rules. Records and plans are now created and stored digitally; workers use new, more Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Edmondson, MS, CIH, CPH, and Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP3 Comments

Hearing Loss Among Construction Workers: Chemicals Can Make It Worse

Three out of four construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels on the jobsite.[i] Noise levels are considered hazardous when they reach 85 decibels or higher. A NIOSH study examining hearing loss across industries found that construction workers have higher levels of hearing loss than workers in most industries.[ii] The highest rates are experienced Read More >

Posted on by Drew Hinton, MS, CSP, CHMM, COHC; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Jeanette Novakovich, MA, MS, PhD; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Thais Morata, PhD; and Trudi McCleery, MPH4 Comments

Preventing Struck-by Injuries in Construction

Struck-by injuries are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and the second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers (1), costing over $1.7 billion in workers compensation costs in 2016 (2). These injuries occur when a worker is struck by a moving vehicle, equipment, or by a falling or flying object, (3). For construction Read More >

Posted on by Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Breloff, PhDLeave a comment

Protecting Machine Operators from Silica Dust: Enclosed Cabs

  Construction workers who operate heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, cranes, and backhoes frequently generate large quantities of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust. Exposure to even small amounts of RCS over time can cause silicosis, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other serious diseases. A recent study published in the American Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Scott Breloff, PhD; Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD4 Comments

Partnering to Prevent Suicide in the Construction Industry – Building Hope and a Road to Recovery

September is Suicide Prevention Month. During this yearly observance, many organizations will place special emphasis on mental health and suicide prevention – including those in the construction industry where suicide rates of workers are alarmingly high.1 Overall, suicide rates in the U.S. have increased, and it has been the 10th leading cause of death since Read More >

Posted on by Trudi McCleery, MPH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

A Guide to Respirators Used for Dust in Construction

Construction dust can cause serious damage to workers’ health and life-threatening diseases. Construction workers can be exposed to many types of dust, such as silica, wood, and lead dust. Workplace exposure to small particles of silica dust, also known as respirable crystalline silica, can lead to serious diseases, including silicosis, a progressive lung disease marked Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Christopher Coffey, Ph.D; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Breloff, PhD; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH9 Comments

Stand-Down for Falls in Its 7th Year: Fatal Falls are Falling

The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched in 2012 through the NORA Construction Sector Council with leadership from NIOSH, OSHA and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. Each year as part of the Campaign, safety stand-downs are held by employers across the country to focus on fall prevention. The Read More >

Posted on by Scott Breloff, PhD; Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD1 Comment

Heat Stress in Construction

As we post this blog, we realize that some states may be under work restrictions due to COVID-19. Please follow the appropriate guidance for your area. Workers should not share water bottles or cups when hydrating. Social distancing applies in the workplace and break areas. See U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of and Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; and Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH5 Comments

World Cancer Day 2020 – Reflecting on a Decade of NIOSH Cancer Research

February 4th, 2020 is World Cancer Day, and we are reflecting on the role of the occupational cancer research being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in reducing the burden of cancer worldwide. Cancer develops as a result of the body losing its ability to control the growth and spread Read More >

Posted on by Raquel Velazquez-Kronen, Ph.D.; and Jasmine Nelson, B.S.6 Comments

Drug Overdose in the Workplace and the Role of Opioids

The drug overdose epidemic continues to afflict our country. Nationally, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 [i] involving opioids (such as fentanyl, heroin and hydrocodone), stimulants (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and alcohol.[ii] Nearly 70% of these deaths involved an opioid.[ii] Recent data show that drug overdoses at work are increasing. Read More >

Posted on by Dawn Castillo, MPH; Michael Fiore, MS; Emily Sparer-Fine, ScD; Hope M. Tiesman, PhD; Steve Wurzelbacher, PhD5 Comments

Wearable Technologies for Improved Safety and Health on Construction Sites

Background Wearable technologies are an increasingly popular consumer electronic for a variety of applications at home and at work. In general, these devices include accessories and clothing that incorporate advanced electronic technologies, often with smartphone or ‘internet of things’ (IoT) connectivity. While wearables are increasingly being used to improve health and well-being by aiding in Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH, John Snawder, Ph.D., DABT, Rick Rinehart, ScD.4 Comments

The Safety Climate Assessment Tool (S-CAT) for Construction

Organizational safety climate is defined as shared perceptions among employees regarding what is rewarded, expected, valued, and reinforced in the workplace with respect to safety (Zohar, 1980). It can positively influence employee safety knowledge, motivation, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as reduce injury outcomes (e.g., Clarke, 2010, Probst et al., 2008, Probst and Estrada, 2010, Read More >

Posted on by Linda M. Goldenhar, PhD3 Comments

Preventing Trenching Fatalities

Construction workers are at risk of death or serious injury if they enter an unprotected trench and the walls col­lapse. A trench is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet or 4.5 meters [OSHA]. Hazards associated with trench work and excavation are Read More >

Posted on by CAPT Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH5 Comments