NIOSH Construction Compendium

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Summary Statement

One-page summaries of over 100 NIOSH-supported construction safety and health research projects in 2002.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, part of the CDC, has produced one-page summaries of more than 100 research projects on construction safety and health in 2002 conducted by or supported by the federal agency (through grants). Categories for the listings include musculoskeletal disorders/ergonomics, traumatic injury, hearing loss prevention, respiratory disease, asphalt, engineering controls, interventions, training, surveillance, special population studies, exposure assessment, construction policy research, and databases.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Washington, DC

February 2003


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This document is the public domain and may be freely copied or reprinted.
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-103


Ensuring the safety and health of America's construction workers continues to be a top priority for NIOSH. Our construction program began in 1990 as Congress began to appropriate funds for the expansion of surveillance, research, and intervention activities for construction safety and health. Since then, NIOSH has developed a national infrastructure to address issues affecting workers in this industry. The program includes intramural research performed by NIOSH staff across a broad range of construction topics, as well as targeted surveillance activities involving a number of state health departments. It also includes extramural projects conducted by academic and related researchers through grants and cooperative agreements, as well as the involvement of two consortia. The first, organized by CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training in 1990, involves the participation of over 16 universities and organizations. The second, the Construction Safety Alliance, is a consortium of four universities that received initial funding in 2001. Overall, NIOSH supports construction research in 22 states.

The research program described in this compendium addresses a variety of important safety and health hazards and conditions. The projects cover the public health spectrum, from identifying and characterizing problems to quantifying and prioritizing risk factors, developing prevention strategies, evaluating results, and disseminating information to construction industry users.

Significant progress has been made in certain construction performance measures. For example, the rate of occupational injuries and illnesses has declined from 14.2 total cases per 100 full-time workers in 1990 to 8.3 total cases in 2000. However, challenges remain in many areas. The fatality rate in construction has not improved over time, and the construction sector continues to account for the largest number of fatal injuries. Progress on occupational disease is more difficult to track, and much work remains to be done.

It takes the collaboration of many parties, including labor, industry, academia, private organizations, and government, to maximize the return on research. Construction partners play an important role in translating safety and health knowledge into effective preventive actions. Partnerships among researchers and the construction industry are essential. By providing brief project descriptions and contact information, we hope this compendium will provide a tool to improve networking among researchers, foster communication between researchers and construction end-users, and stimulate thinking on new research ideas and new ways to apply research results. We all share the same goal: to make a real difference for the health and safety of American construction workers.

John Howard, M.D.
Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




  • Ergonomic Engineering Interventions for the Construction Industry
  • Technology Investment Agreement with Advanced Technology Institute
  • Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Research in Construction
  • Direct Physical Exposure Assessment Methods for Evaluating Noncyclic Construction Work
  • Evaluation of Tool Design Characteristics for Use in Construction Work
  • Temporal and Impulsive Characteristics of Hand Tools
  • Comparison of Aviation Snip Design for Sheet Metal Workers
  • Health Effect of Construction Power Tools on the Hand and Wrist
  • Ergonomic Study of Drywall Finishing Tools and Tasks
  • Biomechanics of Occupational Shoulder Injuries
  • Effects of a Home Exercise Program on Shoulder Pain, Motion, and Muscle Activity in
    Construction Workers
  • Effects of a Home Exercise Program on Preventing Shoulder Pain in Construction Apprentices
  • Effect of Overhead Drilling Position on Shoulder Moment and Electromyography
  • Comparison of Risk Factors in Construction Trades with Contrasting Prevalence of Carpal
    Tunnel Syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Among Apprentice Construction Workers
  • Influence of Physical Workplace Factors on the Development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Among Construction Workers
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Apprentice Construction Workers
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Apprentice and Experienced Hungarian Construction
  • Occupational Low Back Pain in Residential Carpentry: Elements of Posture and Strain
  • Effect of Lightweight Block on Muscular Load and Cardiovascular Stress in Bricklayers
  • Evaluation and Intervention in Construction or Demolition of Concrete Structures
  • Work Organization Issues in Construction: The Relationship Between Overtime and Injury
  • Work Scheduling, Overtime, and Work-Related Injuries in Construction
  • Acute Eye Injury Epidemiology
  • A Study of Ergonomic Interventions in the Drywall Industry
  • Analysis of Construction Fall Accidents
  • Hazard Recognition Training to Prevent Falls in Construction
  • Dynamic Scaffold Modeling for Fall Protection
  • Influence of Visual Cues Work at Heights
  • Fall Prevention Research in Construction
  • Prevention of Falls from Elevations in the Construction Industry
  • Aerial Lift Safety Research in Construction
  • Assessing the Risks of Injury in Trenching and Excavation in the United States
  • Developing Safer Trenching Operations
  • Electrical Arc Injury Parameters and Prevention
  • Electrical Safety Research in Construction
  • Definition and Assessment of Engineering Noise Controls
  • Hearing Loss Intervention for Carpenters
  • Field Hearing Protector Testing Methods and Rating Schemes
  • Hearing Loss Prevention Strategies Program Coordination
  • Prospective Study of Hearing Damage Among Newly Hired Construction Workers
  • Effectiveness of Computer-Based Hearing Test and Training
  • Building Trades Hearing Conservation Programs in Washington State
  • Evaluation of Substitute Materials Used in Construction
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Development with Mixed Dusts
  • Method Development for Fungi in Occupational Diseases
  • Initial Respiratory Responses in Welding Apprentices
  • Role of O3 in Modulating Cr Toxicity in the Lungs
  • Prevention of Inhalation Hazards in Construction
  • Revised NIOSH Guide for Respiratory Protection
  • Respiratory Protection for Construction Workers
  • Asphalt Fumes Characterization and Hazard Identification
  • Molecular Markers of Asphalt Fume Exposure
  • Asphalt Fumes: Inflammatory Effects and Pulmonary Injury
  • Assessment of Asphalt Fume Exposure from Roofing Kettles
  • Control of Exposure During Application of Asphalt Roofing Materials
  • Health Effects of Asphalt Exposure: Development of a REL
  • Concise International Chemical Assessment on Asphalt Exposure
  • Summary of Blood Lead Monitoring Evaluation Project
  • Local Positioning System for Exposure Assessment and Control
  • Screening Methods for Airborne Metals in Construction
  • Environmental Tractor Cab System Integrity
  • Aerosol Sampler Development
  • Control of Exposures During Construction
  • Economic Analyses of Engineering Control Interventions for Drywall Sanding Construction Activities
  • Control of Silica Exposure from Hand-Held Construction Tools
  • Evaluation of Dust Control Technologies in Construction Tasks
  • Electronic Safety Devices for Construction Workers
  • A Device for Eliminating Electrocutions by Mobile Cranes
  • Field Studies with Innovative Safe Excavation Technologies
  • Cross-Cutting Research and Interventions in Hazardous Work Environments
  • Evaluating Roadway Construction Work Zone Interventions
  • Effectiveness of Active Speed Controls in Highway Work Zones
  • Economic and Job Hazard Analysis of Sandblasting Substitutes
  • A Strong Construction Injury Prevention Intervention at the Subcontractor Level
  • Contact Dermatitis Prevention
  • Crew-Based Work Observation Program To Improve Construction Safety Performance
  • Assessment of a Safety-In-Design Intervention on an Industrial Construction Site
  • Zero-Accident Worksites: The Role of Owners in Construction Safety
  • A Blueprint for Integrating Health Hazard Control Programs into Infrastructure Rehabilitation
  • Integrating Safety into Construction CPM Schedules
  • Fall-Safe Partnership
  • Qualitative Research and Intervention
  • Evaluating Toolbox Training in Construction and Mining
  • Safety Checklists Program for Small Businesses in the Construction Industry
  • Safety Checklists for Vocational/Technical Schools
  • Evaluation of Electrical Safety High School Curriculum
  • Supervisory Training in Construction
  • Construction Chart Book
  • Construction Safety Research Development
  • Hazard Prevention in Selected Construction Specialty Trades
  • Feasibility Study of Respirator Surveillance in the Construction Industry
  • Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance and Research Program (ABLES)
  • National Surveillance of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries Using NEISS
  • Surveillance of Nonfatal Work-Related Injuries in Alaska
  • Survey of Small-to-Medium-Sized Construction Companies: Commitment to Safety and Health
  • Research on Young Worker Safety and Health Risks in Construction
  • Worker and Worksite Factors in Denver International Airport Construction Injury
  • Social/Economic Impact of Injury/Illness in Career Roofers
  • Economic Impact of Occupational Injury and Illness
  • Trends of Construction Industry and Workforce
  • Workplace Safety and Health of Hispanic Construction Workers
  • Anthropometry of Construction and Agriculture Population
  • Radiation Grants and Cooperative Agreement Program
  • Occupational Lead Exposure: Risk to the Aging Worker
  • Application of a Task-Based Exposure Assessment Model (T-BEAM) to Construction Safety and Health Programs, Education, and Training
  • Construction Policy Research Center at Harvard University
  • Construction Policy Research Center at the University of Maryland
  • Construction Policy Research Center on Integrated Safety Systems
  • Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH)
  • Data Center at CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training
  • Developing Scalable Database for Construction Safety
  • Developing Construction Safety Alliance Website
  • NIOSH SERVICES Health Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
  • Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
  • State-Based Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
DOE Department of Energy
HUD Housing and Urban Development
MSHA Mine Safety and Health Administration
NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration.