From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
July 2022
New Data Bulletin Looks at COVID-19’s Impact on Construction Industry; New Dashboard Captures Occupational Exposures
The July Data Bulletin reviews the dramatic effects COVID-19 has had on the U.S. construction industry over the past two years, including in spending, employment, small business operations, OSHA enforcement, and injuries and illnesses. It finds that, after a sharp drop at the beginning of the pandemic, activity and employment have recovered strongly, although smaller employers still report substantial negative effects. It also reveals a spike in the rate of nonfatal respiratory illnesses among construction workers in 2020, highlighting the need for workplace controls to reduce exposure and vaccinations.
The Data Center has also published a new data dashboard highlighting occupational exposures in construction, including exposure to diseases or infections, risky body positions, and hot temperatures.
Five New Toolbox Talks Available in Spanish
CPWR’s collection of more than 80 Toolbox Talks now includes Spanish-language versions of five recently added topics. Two focus on falls -- Fixed Ladders and Walking Working Surfaces -- while the other three address struck-by hazards -- Challenges Preventing Falling Objects, Preventing Falling Objects, and Solutions for Falling Objects and Dropped Tools. Like all our Toolbox Talks, these highly graphic, free resources help contractors of all sizes raise awareness and identify and respond to key hazards on construction job sites.
Resources for Safe Summer Construction
Summer weather creates additional safety hazards for construction workers -- heat, lightning, exposure to the sun, and more – and climate change is increasing risk. To help workers protect themselves from heat-related illnesses and other hazards, our Working in Hot Weather webpage offers a range of resources, including Toolbox Talks, Hazard Alert Cards, and infographics.

New Challenge from the Safe + Sound Campaign
OSHA’s Safe + Sound Campaign, which encourages workplaces to have strong safety and health programs, has announced the latest Find & Fix Hazards Challenge: Eyes on SafetyWorkplace inspections are an important tool for identifying hazards and resolving them. Whether you inspect your workplace on a regular basis or are just getting your workplace safety and health program started, conduct a safety walkaround to show how you have Eyes on Safety today: Take the Challenge! As in previous years, CPWR is an organizing partner in Safe + Sound.
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

For more information, including how to apply, visit the Small Study Program on CPWR’s website.
Research Request: Take Part in a Study on Minimizing Painters’ Chemical Exposure
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell are looking for construction painters to participate in a study about minimizing exposure to hazardous Part B ingredients of reactive chemical systems used in metal structure coatings. The researchers will be visiting workplaces to conduct field surveys, monitor airborne exposures and skin exposures, and collect biological samples to measure the effects of exposure and evaluate the efficacy of personal protective equipment and engineering controls. Participants will receive a $50 gift card for donating urine before and after the shift and an additional $50 for a blood sample. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to learn more. 

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 ([email protected], 301-495-8532) with any questions. The following sampling forms are available to submit measurements:
The July session of CPWR's Informational Webinar Series will be announced next week. Until then, watch past webinars on demand and learn from experts on a wide range of topics – including falls, mental health, safety culture, and struck-by hazards – about how to keep construction workers safer on the job.
Tuesday, August 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Addressing the Persistently High Rates of Fatal and Nonfatal Falls in Construction (hosted by ISHN)

During this webinar, Sam Brown, research analyst in CPWR's Data Center, will describe the latest data on falls, slips, and trips in the construction industry, including trends by year, subsector, and injury characteristics. She will also review several interactive data dashboards CPWR has developed to allow users to closely follow injury trends and customize the information. CPWR's Research to Practice Director Jessica Bunting will then will share lessons on underlying causes of falls and free resources to address them, including planning tools, videos, and toolbox talks.

CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has an opening for a Program Assistant. Visit our Career Opportunities page to learn more and for instructions on applying.
Speaking Engagements
July 26-28, Washington -- Association of General Contractors, 2022 Construction Safety, Health & Environmental Conference

July 27, 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Engaging the Entire Project Team in Improving Safety Through Prevention Through Design
  • Donna Laquidara-Carr, Industry Insights Research Director, Dodge Data & Analytics
  • Bill Wright, Director of Communications, CPWR
  • Anette Balestrand Tower, Project Manager, Erland Construction, Inc.