Category: Construction

Welder’s Anthrax

  A new journal article from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch describes cases of welder’s anthrax, a newly identified, deadly occupational disease. Welder’s anthrax is defined as pneumonia in a metalworker caused by bacteria within the Read More >

Posted on by Marie A. de Perio, Katherine A. Hendricks, Chad H. Dowell, William A. Bower, Nancy C. Burton, Patrick Dawson, Caroline A. Schrodt, Johanna S. Salzer, Chung K. Marston, Karl Feldmann, Alex R. Hoffmaster, and James M. Antonini6 Comments

Falls Campaign 2022: Making Research Work

  Falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers.  Tragically, each year roughly 300–400 construction workers fall to their deaths, most often while working at heights on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. In 2020, out of 1,034 falls that resulted in death in the construction industry, 353 were due to falls from a height Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, J’ette Novakovich, Scott Breloff, Douglas Trout, Elizabeth Garza, Christopher Pan, and Bryan WimerLeave a comment

Preventing Struck-by Fatalities Related to Excavator Quick Couplers, Buckets, and Attachments

  The 3rd annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents will take place April 11–15, 2022. As part of these efforts, NIOSH and others are highlighting the lethal struck-by risk related to excavator quick couplers. A quick coupler failure can cause the attachment to fall suddenly, causing death, injury, and/or damage to the excavator and attachment. Read More >

Posted on by Laura Styles, Hank Cierpich, Robert Harrison, David Schutt, Scott Earnest, Nancy T. Romano, CDR Elizabeth Garza, J’ette Novakovich, Douglas Trout, and LT Bryan WimerLeave a comment

Partnering to Design Safe and Healthy Workplaces for the Construction Workforce

The NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health has partnered with industry, government, academia, insurance companies, and labor to address construction-related injuries and fatalities. Working together, these partnerships can tackle many of the serious issues the Construction industry faces today. Prevention through Design (PtD) is an important approach to addressing many of these hazards. A Read More >

Posted on by LT Bryan Wimer; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; J’ette Novakovich, PhD, MS, MA; and Douglas Trout, MD, MHSLeave a comment

Exoskeletons: Potential for Preventing Work-related Musculoskeletal Injuries and Disorders in Construction Workplaces

Construction workers are at high risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). One potential tool to prevent WMSDs is the use of exoskeletons, which are assistive devices that can be suitable for construction and other industrial work (see related NIOSH pages on robotics and the Center for Occupational Robotics Research). Exoskeletons can be categorized as passive Read More >

Posted on by Sang D. Choi, PhD, MPH(c), MS, CSP, CPE; Douglas Trout, MD, MHS; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; and CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH1 Comment

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, CPH2 Comments

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, CPH3 Comments

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, PhD5 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, DrPH12 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