health hazards, reducing major risks associated with musculoskeletal disorders, and increasing the understanding of construction industry attributes and factors for improving health and safety outcomes.
In conjunction with planned reviews of up to 15 NIOSH research programs, the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences of the National Research Council convened a committee of experts to evaluate the relevance and impact of the NIOSH Construction Research Program. The committee evaluated the relevance of the program in terms of its research priorities and its connection to improvements in the protection of workers in the workplace; it evaluated the impact of the program in terms of its contributions to worker safety and health. The committee was also asked to assess the program’s identification and targeting of new research areas, to identify emerging research issues, and to provide advice on ways that the program might be strengthened.
NIOSH cannot, on its own, set and enforce research-based standards or practices for the construction industry. These efforts are carried out, respectively, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and by individual contractors, unions, and other entities. Nonetheless the Construction Research Program can be expected to contribute to reductions in construction workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through its research, dissemination of its research results, and transfer to practice. Taking into account a range of external factors beyond the control of the NIOSH Construction Research Program, the committee found that the program has indeed made meaningful contributions to improving construction worker safety and health.
The review by this committee was guided by a methodology and framework established previously by a National Academies parent committee (see Appendix A). Using a 5-point scoring scale (with 5 being the highest), the present committee assigned the Construction Research Program a score of 5 for relevance, indicating that the research is in high-priority areas and that NIOSH is significantly engaged in appropriate transfer activities for completed research projects and reported program results. Regarding impact, the committee assigned the program a score of 4, indicating that the research program has made some contributions to end outcomes (worker safety and health) or well-accepted intermediate outcomes.
To ensure the continued high level of relevance for the program’s research and to enhance the impact of that research on health and safety practices within the construction industry, the committee recommends that research-to-practice (R2P) efforts involve individuals trained in or having the experience and skills to create strategic diffusion and social marketing plans for NIOSH