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Construction Research at NIOSH Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Committee to Review the NIOSH Construction Research Program Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS â¢ 500 Fifth Street, N.W. â¢ Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was requested by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and supported by Contract Nos. 200-2000-00629 (Task Order #0033) and 200-2005-10881 (Task Order #0004) between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13:â 978-0-309-12850-6 International Standard Book Number-10:â 0-309-12850-1 Cover: Photos courtesy of Matt Gillen, NIOSH Construction Program. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. 2009. Construction Research at NIOSH. Committee to Review the NIOSH Construction Research Program. Rpt. No. 8, Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern- ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to a Â ssociate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of further- ing knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is admin- istered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE NIOSH CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH PROGRAM RICHARD L. TUCKER, Chair, University of Texas, Austin PAUL BARSHOP, Independent Project Analysis, Ashburn, Virginia MARIA BRUNETTE, University of Massachusetts, Lowell PATRICIA A. BUFFLER, University of California, Berkeley ANGELA DiDOMENICO, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts BRADLEY EVANOFF, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri LINDA M. GOLDENHAR, University of Cincinnati, Ohio WILLIAM H. KOJOLA, AFL-CIO, Washington, D.C. EMMITT J. NELSON, Nelson Consulting, Inc., Houston, Texas PETER PHILIPS, University of Utah, Salt Lake City IRIS D. TOMMELEIN, University of California, Berkeley Staff LYNDA STANLEY, Study Director KEVIN LEWIS, Program Officer DANA CAINES, Financial Associate HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate
Preface C onstruction is unique among U.S. industries, annually producing buildings and infrastructure valued at more than $1.2 trillion. Industry practitioners characterize the construction industry as having four distinctly different sectorsâresidential, commercial, industrial, and heavy constructionâwith spe- cialty trade contractors (e.g., carpenters, plumbers) involved in all four sectors. The sector differences are significant because they affect the implementation of worker safety and health programs. The residential sector is the largest of the four sectors, but also the least o Â rganized, with millions of small contractors and a relatively unstructured craft environment. The commercial buildings sector is characterized by specialized sub- contractors, with more highly trained workers grouped according to recognized building trades. The industrial sector is about the same size as the commercial buildings sector; it involves generally larger construction firms, operating in a direct-hire mode, with highly skilled workers and coordinated safety and health efforts. The heavy-construction sector, which builds roads, bridges, and other infra- structure, is more equipment oriented, less labor intensive, and primarily involves public-sector owners. Buildings, structures, and infrastructureâthe products of construction p Â rojectsâlast 20 to 100 years or more. In contrast, construction projects and the industry itself can be described as âtemporary.â Projects are built within several years; they may be located anywhere in the country. Organizations and personnel involved with a construction project change continuously: Individual organizations vii
viii Preface and personnel may not have worked together previously, and they may come from many different backgrounds and cultures. In the residential and commercial sec- tors particularly, crafts- and tradespeople are likely to work at more than one site or project during any given week or other time frame. The unique nature of construction activities has resulted in the formation of specialized trades. The members of 1 of about 15 normally recognized building tradesâfor example, masonsâhave highly specialized but varied skills that have been developed over years of training and apprenticeship. Thus, construction craftspersons are in many ways highly knowledgeable artisans who are respected not only for their manual skills but also for their technical knowledge related to their specific crafts and to other interfacing crafts. The uniqueness of the construction industry presents a challenge for occu- pational safety and health protection. The work environment is inherently less safe during construction than it is after construction is completed: For example, stairways and handrails are much safer after completion than during installation. Moreover, the work environment changes daily for individual workers as construc- tion progresses, and the workers themselves change as different crafts are called in while a project is being built. Worker exposure to hazardous environments is difficult to track because workers move from project to project or company to company during their careers. For all of these reasons, conducting research intended to improve the health and safety of construction workers is challenging. Empirical data for work-related illnesses and diseases are particularly difficult to gather owing to the temporary nature of the work and the latent nature of health and musculoskeletal disorders. Equally difficult is finding ways to transfer research results into workplace Âbehaviors and practices that reduce fatalities, injuries, and illnesses at the worksite. Nonetheless, it appears that significant progress has been made in reduc- ing construction-related fatalities and injuries in recent years. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have provided standard definitions for âTotal Recordable Incident Ratesâ and âDays Away from Work Injuriesâ that, along with reporting requirements, have allowed meaningful tracking of job site injury rates. These rates have declined, possibly by a factor of two, over the past 15 years. The fatality rate attributed to construction incidents has also declined significantly. Much of this improvement can arguably be attributed to the leading industry companies and worker organizations, along with the sup- port of construction equipment manufacturers, which have made concerted and organized efforts to provide safer workplaces. Increasing health care costs may have helped to spur greater attention to the prevention of injuries. In some industry sectors the culture has changed from contending that âconstruction is inherently d Â angerousâaccidents happenâ to holding that âzero accidents are achievable.â
Preface ix These improvements can also be attributed in part to the research and activities of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthâs (NIOSHâs) Construc- tion Research Program. In 2004, NIOSH asked the National Academies to review up to 15 specific NIOSH research programs to determine their relevance to and impact on various industries in the United States. The Committee to Review the NIOSH Construction Research Program was composed of persons with widely diverse backgrounds who have worked in academia, governÂment, industry, and labor unions (Appendix D). To complete its tasks, the committee worked diligently, convening a series of meet- ings (Appendix B) and also employing conference calls and e-mail correspondence. The NIOSH staff provided useful and complete information and was available to answer committee questions. The National Research Council (NRC) staff provided invaluable assistance in gathering information and arranging interviews with in- dustry representatives, in accordance with committee requests. This report is reflective of many months of intense effort by the committee, the NIOSH staff, and the NRC staff. The committeeâs ratings for the relevance and impact of the Construction Research Program are made in the context of the programâs limited resources, the segmentation of the industry, and other factors beyond the control of the program itself. Chapter 1 of this report describes the background of the study and provides context for the committeeâs evaluation. Chapter 2 describes the NIOSH Construc- tion Research Program and external factors that influence the capacity of the pro- gram to meet its goals and objectives. Chapter 3 describes activities undertaken by the Construction Research Program related to the four major research goals that the program focused on during the period reviewed for this study (between 1996 and 2005); it provides the committeeâs detailed assessment, evaluation, and ratings with respect to the programâs relevance and impact in reducing workplace fatali- ties, injuries, and illnesses. Chapter 4 contains the committeeâs recommendations regarding areas of future research and program improvement. Despite many obstacles, the committee believes that the NIOSH Construction Research Program has been highly relevant and has made important contributions to the reduction of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses at construction worksites. The committee hopes that this report will provide valuable guidance to NIOSH as it structures its Construction Research Program for the next decade. Richard L. Tucker, Chair Committee to Review the NIOSH â Construction Research Program
Acknowledgments T his report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their d Â iverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures a Â pproved by the National Research Councilâs Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John C. Bailar III, University of Chicago, Amit Bhattacharya, University of Cincinnati, Bryan Buchholz, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, John Dement, Duke University, Bryan Drennan, Sandia National Laboratories, Richard Dwyer, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Linda Forst, University of Illinois, Chicago, Jimmie Hinze, University of Florida, Gerry Lipka, Sandia National Laboratories, James Melius, New York State Laborers Health and Safety Fund, John Rosecrance, Colorado State University, David H. Wegman, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Wm. A. Wulf, University of Virginia. xi
xii C o n s t r u c t i o n R eA c a r c h l e d g m e n t s s e k n o w a t NIOSH Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or rec- ommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Richard Wright, former director of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were care- fully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee also acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of the members of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment of the National Research Council (Appendix C). The board members were not asked to endorse the committeeâs conclusions or recommendations or to review the final draft of the report before its release.
Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 21 Study Charge and Evaluation Committee, 23 Trends in Construction Workplace Safety and Health, 25 Characteristics of the Construction Industry, 26 References, 31 2 THE NIOSH CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH PROGRAM 32 Program Evolution, 32 Strategic Planning and Research Goals, 34 Current Program Structure and Administration, 35 External Factors, 39 References, 44 3 EVALUATION OF THE RELEVANCE AND IMPACT OF THE 45 NIOSH CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH PROGRAM Assessment of Relevance, 47 Overall Evaluation of Relevance, 69 Assessment of Impact, 71 Overall Evaluation of Impact, 78 References, 80 xiii
xiv Contents 4 FUTURE RESEARCH AND PROGRAM IMPROVEMENT 82 Overview of New and Emerging Research Areas, 83 Analysis of and Recommendations Regarding Emerging Issues and New Research Areas, 86 Overarching Recommendations for Program Improvement, 98 References, 100 APPENDIXES A Framework for the Review of Research Programs of the 103 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health B Committee Meetings 148 C Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment 152 D Biosketches of Committee Members 153
Tables, Figures, and Boxes TABLES 1.1 Construction Industry Subsectors as Defined by the North American Industry Classification System, 27 2.1 Overall NIOSH Budget, FY 1996âFY 2006, 41 3.1 Program Distribution of Goal 1 Research Activities Focused on Reducing Safety-Related Hazards, by Sub-goals, 50 FIGURES S.1 Components of the NIOSH Construction Research Program, 6 2.1 Components of the NIOSH Construction Research Program, 35 2.2 Construction Research Program funding history, FY 1997âFY 2007, 37 2.3 Construction Research Program funding, FY 2000âFY 2007, adjusted by the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index, 38 2.4 Comparison of NIOSH total budget and Construction Research Program budget in unadjusted dollars, FY 1996âFY 2006, 42 xv
xvi T a b l e s , F i g u r e s , a n d B o x e s 3.1 Flowchart of the evaluation process recommended by the Framework Committee, 49 BOXES S.1 Framework Document Scoring Criteria for Relevance and Impact, 10 S.2 NORA2 Preliminary Draft National Construction Agenda Strategic Goals, 14 S.3 Six Overarching Recommendations for the Construction Research Program, 16 3.1 Research Goals and Sub-goals of the NIOSH Construction Research Program, 46 3.2 Logic Model Terms and Examples, 48 3.3 NIOSH Research-to-Practice (R2P) Goals and Actions, 66 3.4 Framework Document Scoring Criteria for Relevance, 69 3.5 Framework Document Scoring Criteria for Impact, 79 4.1 NORA2 Preliminary Draft National Construction Agenda Strategic Goals, 86
Abbreviations and Acronyms ABLES Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations ANSI American National Standards Institute BAT Bureau of Apprenticeship Training BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics BRDPI Biomedical Research and Development Price Index CD compact disc CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CEI Construction Ergonomics Initiative COSH National Council for Occupational Safety and Health CPWR Center to Protect Workersâ Rights CSC Construction Steering Committee (NIOSH) DARTs days away from work, days of restricted work activity or job transfer EC Evaluation Committee eLCOSH electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health EPA Environmental Protection Agency xvii
xviii A b b r e v i at i o n s a n d A c r o n y m s FACE Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation FTE full-time equivalent FY fiscal year GDP gross domestic product HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development ITCP Internal Traffic Control Plan IUOE International Union of Operating Engineers MSD musculoskeletal disorder NAICS North American Industry Classification System NCC National Construction Center NIH National Institutes of Health NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NORA National Occupational Research Agenda NORA1 first National Occupational Research Agenda (1996-2005) NORA2 second National Occupational Research Agenda (2005 forward) NRC National Research Council OHPL overhead power line OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration PATH Posture, Activity, Tools, and Handling PWS proximity-warning system R2P research-to-practice RFA request for applications SSVR surround-screen virtual reality TRIR Total Recordable Incident Rate