Prevention Through Design (PtD)

18 Feb 2014 3:10 PM | Deleted user

PtD addresses worker exposure to hazards during the design stages of a project. When a building is de-signed, risks of fall-related injuries and fatalities can be minimized with a life-cycle approach to address fall hazards for the workers who construct, operate, maintain, and eventually demolish a building. This approach can include using a building’s features to address fall hazards in construction plans, considering safety when buying equipment, and communicating risks to building owners and facilities personnel.


New information published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) addresses some of these issues in a paper titled Preventing Falls Through the Design of Roof Parapets. NIOSH  recommends that construction sites use parapets, guardrails, and permanent anchor points to help prevent falls during construction. When addressed at the design phase of a structure, these same features can be used to protect workers throughout the building's life cycle as it is repaired and maintained.


Of the 4,609 fatal work injuries that occurred in 2011, 541 (12%) were the result of falls to a lower level [BLS 2012]. The NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program (an activity of the NIOSH Division of Safety Research (DSR) investigates worker fatalities to determine causes, and recommends injury prevention measures. A 2005 study analyzed 224 FACE case reports and found that 42% of fatalities might be linked to the building design, and 6 fatalities may have been prevented if the building designs had included parapets for fall protection.


Read more by clicking here to download a PDF version of the NIOSH document, or go to the NIOSH PtD web site at  

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