CPWR UPDATE
From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
June 2021
2021 Liberty Mutual Award Honors Three Safety Innovations
Last week Liberty Mutual Insurance and CPWR recognized three innovations to improve construction workers’ safety. Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award’s grand prize was awarded to Ajustco’s Anchor Thread (right). This innovative product is attached to concrete form work pre-pour and becomes a permanent attachment point in the superstructure that can be used in multiple ways. It can anchor leading edge cables, personal fall arrest systems, mechanical, electrical and plumbing piping and equipment, tie-downs for spider cranes, window washer equipment, and nets in elevator shafts. Honorable mention went to ViCAS, an integrated worker safety solution that uses artificial intelligence and machine vision technologies to detect proximity, mitigate blind zone accidents, and prevent collision between heavy vehicles and workers. Also chosen as a finalist was the Hilmerson Safety Rail System, an engineered steel guardrail kit that can be quickly mounted to concrete substrates with a single anchor bolt, slab grabber and/or side mount plate or installed on many other surfaces with weighted, non-penetrating base plates. The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award will take place again in 2022 -- information on how to enter will be coming this fall.
Resources for Improving Safety This Summer --
and Beyond
Cover of the Working in Hot Weather Hazard Alert
The start of the summer and the move back towards pre-pandemic life is a great time to recommit to improving safety on the job site. The following CPWR resources can help keep workers safe on the job.
  • COVID-19: While there has been progress in keeping workers safe from the coronavirus, it remains a life-threatening hazard. The latest additions to our COVID-19 Resources are fact sheets and infographics on vaccines and ventilation, including information targeted to small contractors. These materials join the COVID-19 Clearinghouse, the COVID-19 Exposure Control Planning Tool, our COVID-19 Toolbox Talk, the COVID-19 webinar series, and more. 
  • Hazard-Specific Resources – We offer materials such as Hazard Alert Cards, Infographics and Toolbox Talks, all designed to help workers and contractors address specific hazards. The latest additions were developed to support the recent Falls and Struck-By Stand-Downs, and we previously added new resources about nanomaterials, including an infographic providing an overview of nanomaterials and two Toolbox Talks.
  • Hot Weather: Because they are often in direct sunlight or hot, enclosed spaces, construction workers are at risk for heat-related illnesses. They also face hazards such as lightning and skin cancer. Our Working in Hot Weather webpage compiles our resources, as well as information from NIOSH and OSHA. Also, scroll down in this newsletter to register for a webinar on working safely in Hot Weather.
  • Training Programs: Because of the importance of training to keeping workers safe and healthy, CPWR offers free training curricula to address critical hazards, including hazard communication, head injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, noise, and opioids. 
 
All of CPWR’s materials are available for free, and many are also available in Spanish. Also, visit our family of websites for additional resources on specific topics such as hand safety, safety climate, and silica.
RESEARCH NEWS
CPWR Writes Chapter on Construction Health and Safety for Major Reference Book
Since its initial publication 70 years ago, Patty's Industrial Hygiene has been a foundational reference for the industrial hygiene profession. For the newly published 7th edition, the editors added a chapter dedicated to construction and invited CPWR to write it. To do that, we assembled a team of experts, primarily CPWR staff, to examine the unique issues facing the industry. The construction chapter covers a wide range of topics, including workforce demographics, injury and fatality rates, the Stop Construction Falls campaign, the OSHA silica standard for construction, Prevention through Design initiatives, and innovative technologies like drones, robotics, and wearables. Patty’s is available online.

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
Tuesday, June 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET -- Occupational Exposures to Epoxy Resins among Construction Painters: Methods to Monitor Exposures and Urinary Biomarkers
This webinar will present findings on occupational exposures to epoxy resins among construction painters working in anti-corrosion metal structure coating – a multibillion dollar market. Epoxy resins used in steel structure coatings derive almost exclusively from Bisphenol A Diglycidyl Ether (BADGE). Epoxy exposures are associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, respiratory disorders, and potential endocrine disruption effects. Dr. Dhimiter Bello, professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, will focus on findings related to inhalation and dermal exposures to BADGE, as well as biomonitoring of pre- and post-shift urine samples collected at various metal structure coating sites in Massachusetts. Dr. Bello will also discuss the adequacy of current exposure controls and provide recommendations to further reduce epoxy exposures among painters during steel structure coating in construction. Moderator Bernard Mizula, director of Environmental Health and Safety at the IUPAT/Finishing Trades Institute, will then host Q&A.
 
 
Tuesday, June 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET -- Heat-related Illness & Death in Construction
Construction workers, who often work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot, enclosed spaces, are at risk for heat-related illnesses and, in severe cases, death. In fact, construction workers make up about 6% of the total U.S. workforce, but from 1992 to 2016, they accounted for 36% of all occupational heat-related deaths. Join three CPWR staff members -- Gavin West, director of Nanomaterials Research; Chris Le, program manager of the Construction Solutions Database; and Rosa Greenberg, research assistant for the Research to Practice (r2p) Program – to learn more about research findings on heat-related deaths among construction workers as well as CPWR resources and solutions to help prevent them. This webinar will include a 30-minute presentation and a Q&A.
 

Please be aware that CPWR's webinar platform enables 1,000 people to attend live; however, everyone who registers for the event will automatically receive the recording. 

Past Webinars
Learn more about CPWR's recent webinars on COVID-19 and the construction industry, as well as webinars on a wide range of safety and health topics. All are available for viewing on-demand.
CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has an opening for a Training Specialist -- visit our Career Opportunities page for instructions on applying.
Events
June is National Safety Month
CPWR is a partner for the 25th anniversary of National Safety Month, organized by the National Safety Council. With the U.S. seeing the highest number of workplace deaths since 2007, this observance is more important than ever. Participants can access a variety of free materials on four weekly topics including incident prevention, ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns, psychological safety, and continuous safety improvement.