PtD encompasses the efforts to anticipate and design out hazards to workers in facilities, work methods and operations, processes, equipment, tools, products, new technologies, and the organization of work. The focus of PtD is on workers who execute the designs or work with the products of the design. The initiative has been developed to support designing out hazards, the most reliable and effective type of prevention.
Topics in Construction Safety and Health – Prevention through Design (updated 2023)
This annotated, interdisciplinary bibliography, part of a CPWR series on key topics in construction safety and health, provides citations for and summaries of research on PtD.
Draft NORA PtD Checklists
Share comments on these draft checklists.
- Checklist for Design Engineers and Architects – Residential Construction
- Struck‐by Checklist for Architects and Design Engineers ‐ Building Construction
- Struck-by Checklist for Design Engineers and Resident Engineers – Roadway Work Zones
CPWR hosts regular webinars on construction safety and health topics, including current research, new efforts and trends in occupational safety & health, and training programs. All past webinars – including three on PtD — are available for viewing on demand.
- Preventing Falls through Improved Design (2023) Play Recording, Download Slides.
Best Practices from a Contractor
A panelist from the webinaar, TJ Lyons, Safety Director with Gilbane, shared his spreadsheet of best practices and innovations to help others implement PtD measures.
- Applying Prevention through Design (PtD) to Solar Systems in Small Buildings (2017) Play Recording.
Applying Prevention through Design (PtD) to Solar Systems in Small Buildings
Hyun Woo Lee, John Gambatese, Chung Ho. CPWR Small Study, 2017
The research team for this Small Study interviewed workers, contractors and engineers in the industry to identify choices during the design process that can reduce worker exposure to injury during construction. See also: Prevention through Design (PtD) to Make Solar-Ready Houses Safe for Solar Workers
Hyun Woo Lee, John Gambatese, and Yohan Min. CPWR Small Study, 2020
This Small Study used interviews and a survey with industry professionals, as well as case studies of existing solar-ready houses, to develop a PtD design checklist and Building Information Modeling models.
- Health and Safety Risk Reductions Using Pre-fabricated Concrete Formwork Systems (2016) Play Recording
Guidance and Resources
Best Built Plans
One part of the Best Built Plans Materials Handling Contractor Planning Tool shows how planning to reduce manual materials handling can prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders and improve construction performance.
Mejorar la productividad y cumplir con los plazos
Esta parte de la herramienta de planificación para contratistas del Best Built Plans muestra cómo la planificación para reducir el manejo manual de materiales puede mejorar el rendimiento de la construcción.
Construction Solutions is an interactive web-based tool that contains over 330 evidence-based occupational safety and health controls, referred to as Solutions. Each solution provides information on interventions and practices available to reduce construction workers’ exposure to occupational safety and health hazards.
- Considering Fixed Ladders and/or Stairways During the Design Phase
Fixed ladders and stairways can eliminate the need for portable ladders, lifts or scaffolds that may create a greater hazard to the worker.
- Considering Cast-in Sockets for Guardrails and Handrails During the Design Phase
Specifications for guardrails in the design phase can prevent the risk of falls from floor holes.
- Considering Roof Parapets During the Design Phase
Roof parapets meeting specific design requirements can reduce fall hazards for workers.
- Designing Roofs with Permanent Roof Anchors
Permanent and structurally sound roof anchors provide strong and reliable tie off points for personal fall arrest systems.
- Incorporating Horizontal Round Grab Bars on Fixed Ladders for Three-point Control
Incorporating horizontal round bars, which can provide better grip, on fixed ladders can help prevent ladder falls.
- Installing Permanent Tie-in Anchor Systems During the Design Phase
Installing permanent tie-in anchor systems is stronger than relying on the strength of day-old veneer for securing scaffolds.
- Leading Edge Fall Protection System
Pre-punching holes in steel columns for horizontal lifelines and wire guardrails.
- Pre-fabricated Slab Formwork System
Using pre-fabricated slab formwork reduces safety risks associated with constructing traditional timber formwork.
- Pre-fabricated Wall and Column Formwork System
Using pre-fabricated wall and column formwork reduces safety risks associated with constructing traditional timber formwork.
- Split Frame Lathe with Minimal External Components
This patented split frame lathe has minimal external machine components that can reduce pinch points during pipe cutting and beveling operations.
Research Projects and Reports
Health Hazard Controls Industry Diffusion: Evidence-based Intervention Strategies
This project, begun in 2019, is developing strategies to improve increase the use of Prevention through Design to prevent occupational respiratory diseases.
Occupational Safety and Health in Green Buildings: LEED PtD Pilot Credit Analysis
Michael Behm, Annie Pearce. CPWR Small Study, 2017
Using case studies of two European construction projects that pursued a Prevention through Design pilot credit, as well as surveys and interviews with domestic building industry stakeholders, this CPWR Small Study explored why U.S. adoption of the credit has been limited.
Owners’ perceptions of barriers to Prevention through Design diffusion
John A. Gambatese, T. Michael Toole, and Deborah A. Abowitz. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, July 2017
This Key Finding summarizes a study of 103 construction owners, including interviews with 65, that aimed to learn what barriers they perceived to adoption of PtD.
Owners’ Role in Facilitating Designing for Construction Safety
Michael Toole, John A. Gambatese, Deborah A. Abowitz. CPWR Report, 2012
For this CPWR Report, researchers surveyed 103 construction owners and interviewing 65 to assess their awareness of PtD, and to learn how owners applied PtD elements in their projects.
Owners’ role in facilitating Prevention through Design
Michael Toole, John A. Gambatese, and Deborah A. Abowitz. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, January 2016.
This Key Finding summarizes a paper in which researchers employed a mixed-methods design, performing in-depth case studies at four firms followed by a nationwide survey, to confirm that responses at the four firms reflected larger industry trends.
Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2017
Dodge Data & Analytics
This edition of Dodge’s continuing series of SmartMarket Reports on safety practices in construction, in which CPWR is a partner, included a 14-page section on PtD.