CPWR, NIOSH Begin New 5-Year Program

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

CPWR is beginning a new 5-year program on construction safety and health with 20 projects on topics such as COPD, silica, electrical hazards and falls.
Oct 2004

CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training and its academic and industry partners nationwide on August 1 began a new, 5-year program focusing on construction safety and health. The program, the Center for Construction Safety and Health, is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH.

“We’re proud of this award’s recognition of our unique and valuable contributions to improved safety and health for construction workers,” said Edward C. Sullivan, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department and CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). “This is a wonderful opportunity.

“With modest funding from NIOSH starting in 1990,” Sullivan added, “we have developed the largest private research and training organization in the world devoted to construction safety and health. We look forward to continuing our work with NIOSH on these critical issues.”

The current funding for more than 20 projects, awarded after a competitive application and scientific review, will focus on practical research and interventions and the translation of scientific findings for widespread use.

Some of the planned projects are:
  • An analysis of work-related factors contributing to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among sheet metal workers.
  • Evaluation of controls for silica dust and noise on small powered tools and any barriers to use of the effective controls.
  • Development and evaluation of a program to reduce work-related low-back pain among masons and mason tenders.
  • Development and evaluation of methods to reduce shoulder pain and disorders caused by repeated overhead drilling.
  • Development and evaluation of an inspection program to reduce electrical hazards during construction.
  • Identification of the main causes of falls from portable ladders, plus development (and evaluation) of training and new designs to reduce the falls.
  • For a new leading-edge fall protection system for ironworkers, development of a training video and workbook, along with evaluation of a contractor’s ability to implement the system.
  • Improvement and evaluation of changes in fall-prevention training among apprentice carpenters.
  • Evaluation of (and improvement of) training and design changes to prevent nail gun injuries among carpenters, in terms of safety and productivity.
  • A focus on the Hispanic workforce in construction: its safety-and-health status, health care use, factors contributing to disparities found, and development of intervention strategies.
  • Development, delivery, and evaluation of a 10-hour safety and health course to Spanish-speaking day laborers.
  • Development and evaluation of a communications program to encourage contractors and workers to use two low-cost ergonomic innovations.
  • Identification of barriers to safe work practices, plus development and evaluation of training and safety campaigns to address the barriers.
  • Evaluation of Smart Mark 10-hour OSHA training and its effect on self-reported illnesses and injuries.
  • Two national conferences on safety, health, and ergonomics, planned for 2006 and 2008, with regional conferences in 2007 and 2009.
  • Continuing use of data to show trends in the industry, along with a fourth edition of The Construction Chart Book in 2007, which covers economics and safety and health.
In addition to construction unions, contractors, and equipment manufacturers, partners in these efforts include Colorado State University; Duke University Medical Center; Harvard School of Public Health; the International Masonry Institute; Liberty Mutual Research Institute; New Labor (New Jersey); Rutgers University; University of California, San Francisco; the University of Illinois at Chicago; the Universities of Iowa, Oregon, and Washington; the University of Massachusetts Lowell; Washington University School of Medicine; and the West Virginia University Safety and Health Extension.

NIOSH, part of the CDC, in 1990 began its first cooperative research agreement with CPWR, the research, development, and training arm of the 15 unions in the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.