exposures to lead, asphalt fumes, and silica. Grants and contracts were awarded to support epidemiological studies investigating health risks associated with the painting trade, silicosis and its association with sandblasting, and safety profiles for specific construction activities. NIOSH researchers were also developing and disseminating criteria documents, providing research results to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the health and safety aspects of noise, ultraviolet radiation, elevated workstations, crystalline silica, asphalt fumes, construction work in confined spaces, excavation, and occupational exposure to hand-arm vibration for construction workers.

In 1990, following hearings about the level of resources and programs targeting construction safety, Congress directed NIOSH to “develop a comprehensive prevention program directed at health problems affecting construction workers by expanding existing NIOSH activities in areas of surveillance, research, and intervention” (NIOSH, 2007) and allocated funds for NIOSH to do so. Between 1990 and 1994, NIOSH conducted several national conferences on construction safety and health, issued cooperative agreements to encourage extramural research,1 and established a task group to prepare a plan and budget for construction research.

By 1994, extramural research included state demonstration projects and several cooperative agreements and research grants. In the same year Congress directed NIOSH to establish a new 5-year cooperative agreement with the construction trades to develop a center for prevention-oriented strategies and programs. After NIOSH issued a request for applications (RFA) and held a competition, the agreement for a National Construction Center (NCC) was awarded to the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR) and a CPWR consortium of 10 academic institutions.2 The CPWR had been created by the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO in 1990 to conduct applied construction safety and health research, training, and medical screening and to provide other related services.

In 1995, the NIOSH director requested an external review of the Construction Research Program. The review resulted in the establishment of a Construction Steering Committee (CSC), which included a chairperson and a representative from each NIOSH division and laboratory.3 The mandate of the CSC was to increase internal and external communication between researchers working on


Research conducted by entities and individuals outside of NIOSH.


CPWR was renamed “CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training” in 2008.


Applied Research and Technology; Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies; Education and Information; Respiratory Disease Studies; Safety Research; Health Effects; Pittsburgh Research Laboratory; Spokane Research Laboratory, the Office of Extramural Projects; and National Personal Protective Technology. NIOSH’s laboratories are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Spokane, Washington; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Morgantown, West Virginia.

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