CPWR UPDATE
From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
January 2022
New Data Bulletin, Data Dashboards Focus on Construction Worker Health
The January 2022 issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin examines anxiety and depression among construction workers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry already suffers from an alarmingly high and increasing suicide rate, making it particularly important to understand workers’ mental health at this difficult time. In 2020, nearly one out of every six construction workers reported experiencing anxiety/depression, with a higher prevalence among those who were ages 18 to 34 (18%), female (24%), living below the poverty line (18%), or working part-time (19%). The Bulletin also reveals that among workers surveyed in both 2019 and 2020, 43% reported increases in the frequency or level of anxious/depressed feelings between the two years. 
 
Accompanying the Data Bulletin are two Data Dashboards related to construction workers’ health. One provides detailed information on mental health, including anxiety, depression, and psychological distress; the other explores medical expenditures, healthcare, and the impact of health insurance. Both break down data by a range of worker characteristics, such as demographics and socioeconomic status.

Submit Safety Innovations for the 2022 Liberty Mutual Award
Nominations are now open for the 2022 Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction, which recognizes innovative approaches for reducing or eliminating hazards that lead to injuries and pain for construction workers. The nominated intervention can take many forms, including a new tool, an evidence-based technology, a new work practice, or a novel safety and health program. It could also be a grassroots or media campaign focused on reaching smaller contractors or segments of the construction workforce at higher risk. Sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance in partnership with CPWR, the award includes a $15,000 cash prize for the winning individual or organization; one or more honorable mentions may also be awarded. Learn more about the process and past recipients on the CPWR website. The submission deadline is February 28, 2022.
TOOLS FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH
Keeping Infrastructure Workers Safe
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create millions of good-paying jobs -- and they need to be safe jobs. In the coming months, Update will highlight resources that can help keep construction workers safe and healthy as they build and rebuild American roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, clean water, transit, and broadband. For January, we focus on struck-by hazards, a leading cause of death among construction workers and the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the industry. 

Latest Toolbox Talk Focuses on Respiratory Projection
The newest CPWR Toolbox Talk – there are now more than 75 – provides guidance on respiratory protection from fumes, dust and other hazards that can damage workers’ health.

Spanish Versions of Two Resources Now Available
The eighth episode of our Construction Safety & Health podcast series -- this one discussing the CPWR Data Center -- can now be heard in Spanish, and the latest COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs has also been posted in Spanish.
RESEARCH NEWS
A Literature Review of Behavioral Economics in the Construction Industry
Sue Ann Sarpy, Eileen Betit, Grace Barlet, Alan Echt. December 2021
This literature review examines the extent to which behavioral economics concepts and related choice architecture techniques have been used to influence safety or health decisions in the construction industry and other occupational settings.
 
Research Request: Take Part in an Interview on Exoskeletons in Construction
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco/Berkeley and Virginia Tech are conducting one-on-one, confidential interviews with current construction workers who have used exoskeletons or with other experts (e.g., managers, owners, union reps, health and safety officers) to learn their perspectives on exoskeleton technology, with a focus on safety, health, and productivity. Interested in participating or have a question? Email Aanu Ojelade and include your job title and your experience using an exoskeleton. Participants in a one-hour interview will receive a $30 gift card. 

Share Your Exposure Measurements
If you have exposure measurements for silica, welding fumes, lead, or noise, CPWR needs your help!

The Exposure Control Database (ECD), a free online tool that estimates your workers’ exposure to common health hazards, is expanding. If you have data that you are willing to share, please submit it to CPWR to make the ECD more accurate and reliable. If you have any questions, contact Sara Brooks (sbrooks@cpwr.com, 301-495-8532) with any questions. The following sampling forms are available to submit measurements:

Small Study Grant Funding Available
Our Small Study Program, which supports promising new research initiatives on improving construction safety and health, has a particular interest in studies that plan to work with and/or target small employers. We define small employers as those with 19 employees or fewer. We are giving priority to funding studies aimed at:
 
  • Reaching high-risk populations: small employers, vulnerable workers, residential and light commercial construction firms
  • Developing applicable, practical interventions
  • Engaging stakeholders, through partnerships and other means, to better understand the barriers to and motivators for adoption of best practices
  • Addressing emerging issues and exploring new technologies
  • Evaluating promising research translation products and dissemination strategies
  • Disseminating good practices to small employers
 
We are also interested in innovative approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through ventilation, distancing, and respirators. A study may be proposed at any time and can receive funding of up to $30,000. For more information, including how to apply, visit the Small Study Program on CPWR’s website.
NEWS & EVENTS
Webinars
January 13, 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET -- CPWR-NIOSH COVID-19 Webinar: COVID 101: Back to Basics
The cold weather throughout much of the country is keeping many of us indoors right now -- both in our free time and at work. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, it is important to remember that a multi-layered approach to exposure control on construction job sites is key. While vaccinations are important and effective at preventing COVID, especially severe illness and death, we cannot forget about other safety measures such as requiring employees and visitors to wear masks, improving ventilation, and allowing time off for isolating or quarantining when necessary. In this short webinar, Dr. Doug Trout, Medical Officer at the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health, will review key protections and answer questions about reducing COVID exposure on construction sites.
 
 
January 27, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET -- An Update from the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction: The Importance of a Year-Round Fall Prevention Program
2022 marks the 11th year of the NIOSH-CPWR-OSHA Fall Prevention Campaign, which has successfully reached millions of construction contractors and workers nationwide through its annual Safety Stand-Down event. Despite this, fatal falls remain the number one work-related cause of death for construction workers. These fatalities are completely preventable with a good fall prevention and rescue plan and the right access equipment, training, and fall protection. During this webinar, including Q&A, representatives from the three primary Campaign partners -- Scott Earnest, NIOSH’s associate director for Construction; Scott Ketcham, director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction; and Chris Trahan Cain, CPWR’s executive director -- will review some of the latest findings from the 2021 Stand-Down evaluation and a survey aiming to identify common underlying causes of falls and provide updates on the latest free resources and plans for the 2022 Stand-Down.
 

CPWR’s webinar platform limits registration to 1,000 people. If you do not think you'll be able to attend live, please watch the recording of the webinar – all our webinars are available on-demand within a few days of their presentation.
CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has an opening for a Training Specialist -- visit our Career Opportunities page for instructions on applying.

OSHA’s Office of Training and Education is seeking applications for several instructors for the Safety, Health, and Construction Training Branches. These positions serve as senior instructors and highly qualified occupational safety specialists. There are separate job announcements for federal employees and for private sector employees. The announcement closes on January 11, 2022.