NIOSH Construction Compendium

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Summary Statement

One-page summaries of over 100 NIOSH-supported construction safety and health research projects in 2002.


This Compendium of NIOSH Construction Research for 2002 includes 49 NIOSH intramural and 67 NIOSH-funded extramural construction projects. Projects included in this compendium were selected on the basis of their relevance to construction, and each principal investigator was asked to describe their project in one page and submit a graphic of some sort to illustrate the narrative. The descriptions were then grouped by topic categories.

A few explanations and caveats are provided here to assist users of this document.
  • The projects in this compendium have construction as the major focus. Projects that look at the etiology of a certain health effect or which address construction as part of a multi-industry approach may not be included even though they may have relevance for construction. In addition, research targeting the agriculture and mining sectors may address hazards (e.g., hand tools, hearing loss, electrical hazards) and produce solutions (e.g., ventilation of equipment cabs) that can be applied to the construction sector and vice versa. NIOSH mining-related projects are described in A Compendium of NIOSH Mining Research 2002 (DHHS, NIOSH Publication No. 2002-110), which can be downloaded from the NIOSH Web site at Interested readers are encouraged to examine both research compendia for synergistic health and safety projects.
  • The one-page format focuses on key items. Projects are included in only one topic category, even though many can be considered as cutting across a number of categories.
  • Space limitations may have resulted in some co-investigators or research partners being omitted. Readers should contact the researchers directly for more information or with any questions.

NIOSH extramural projects are based on proposals submitted by academic and other researchers under NIOSH'S "R01" grant program. Applications for these awards are accepted three times a year, and researchers interested in construction are encouraged to apply. Additional details are available on the NIOSH Website.

Many extramural projects are channeled through two consortia— CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training and the Construction Safety Alliance. CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training is funded through a 5-year cooperative agreement directed to encourage research on (1) innovative pilot or feasibility studies to reduce injury and illness in construction, (2) evaluations of interventions geared to developing and testing best practices, (3) disseminating information and technology transfer, (4) reviewing preventive systems (e.g., policies, procedures, organizational factors) that affect construction, (5) on-going surveillance, and (6) establishing and reviewing research priorities. The Construction Safety Alliance is funded by a 2-year NIOSH grant to Purdue University and brings together several programs focusing on construction engineering approaches.


The NIOSH Web page includes a construction topic page with links to many NIOSH construction publications, as well as other useful links such as eLCOSH (the Electronic Library for Construction Safety and Health).

An Institutewide Construction Steering Committee, with representatives from each division and laboratory, oversees the NIOSH construction program and advises NIOSH leadership. The committee serves as an advocate for construction-related activities within NIOSH and acts to facilitate communication, partnering, project planning, and strategic planning on construction issues. Current members include—

Christine (Lani) Boldt, Spokane Research Laboratory
James Cawley, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory
Robert Cutlip, Health Effects Laboratory Division
Cherie Estill, Division of Applied Research and Technology
David Fosbroke, Division of Safety Research
Matt Gillen, Office of the Director Ted Katz, Office of the Director
Kenneth Linch, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies
Greg Piacitelli, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
Marie Haring Sweeney, Education and Information Division
John Talty, Office of Extramural Programs

The Construction Steering Committee has identified a number of high-priority construction topics and emerging areas of interest where research is most likely to make a difference. The committee is interested in encouraging new intramural and extramural projects in the areas below.

Outcome topics
  • Fatal injuries in construction
  • Other traumatic injuries
  • Respiratory disease (airway disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis)
  • Hearing loss
  • Low-back injuries
  • Cumulative, work-related musculoskeletal disorders
  • Psychological and neurological disorders
Overexposure topics
  • Vibration
  • Asphalt fumes
  • Lead
  • Dust and particles
Approach and sector topics
  • Information and technology transfer—how to best translate research into prevention
  • Addressing issues affecting small and self-employed contractors
  • Evaluating the role of design as a primary prevention tool for addressing construction hazards
  • Work organization in construction and how it relates to health and safety
  • Special populations at risk—the impacts of diversity and aging
  • Working with building owners and clients (e.g., federal building managers) to promote and evaluate construction best practices
  • How to leverage research results from related sectors, such as mining and agriculture, into construction and vice-versa
Please contact the NIOSH Construction Steering Committee chair to share your ideas about research needs and priorities, partnership opportunities, and suggestions for translating research into applications for the construction industry.


The Construction Steering Committee would like to thank Priscilla Wopat of the NIOSH Spokane Research Laboratory for her terrific assistance with editing and assembling this document, and Herb Linn for his assistance with the cover photos. Very special appreciation also goes to Trish Quinn of CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training and Ann Berry and Ann Cronin of the NIOSH Office of Extramural Programs for their assistance in providing current information about projects and investigators.

Matt Gillen, MS, CIH
Chair, NIOSH Construction Steering Committee

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