Prevention Through Design Initiative

A new resource by the US-American National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health (NIOSH) and the National Safety Council (NSC) on the national
"Prevention through Design" (PtD) initiative was released as a special edition
of the Journal of Safety Research, April 2008. The journal contains the
proceedings from a July 9-11, 2007, PtD Workshop held in Washington DC by
NIOSH, NSC, and other co-sponsors, including break-out session reports by
industry sector and functional area, as well as technical papers authored by
experts in PtD.

Prevention through Design is based on evidence that occupational injuries,
illness, and fatalities are most effectively prevented by "designing out”
hazards and hazardous exposures from the workplace. Recent studies in Australia
estimate that design is a significant contributor in 37% of work-related

Although there is a long history of designing for safety for the general
public, there has been less emphasis on designing for safety for workers.
However, many U.S. companies support PtD concepts because they have
demonstrated to themselves the business value of PtD, and have developed
successful PtD management practices. Reported success stories highlighted in
the proceedings include these:

  • Kaiser Permanente is controlling the risk of back injuries to health care
    workers by installing ceiling-mounted lifts in patient rooms;

  • Washington Group International demonstrates a positive return on investment
    by designing for safety during construction and operation of a new radioactive
    waste processing facility;

  • McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry eliminates 97% of the chemicals used in
    the manufacture of a fabric. As a result, the trimmings are safely mulched and
    composted by local garden clubs;

  • Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) requires that the hierarchy of controls
    (elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering controls, administrative
    controls, PPE) is applied to health and safety risks. As a result, they have
    reduced the frequency of mobile equipment-related events by 70%;

  • Sikorsky Aircraft includes previously optional safety equipment on all
    Sikorsky commercial aircraft since they want their helicopters to be the safest
    to fly.

The output from the workshop will be used to develop a strategic plan that
highlights actions and milestones to institutionalize the PtD concept
throughout the United States. Abstracts for the proceedings and other
information about the special edition of the Journal are available.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: National Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health