From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
March 2021
Data Bulletin Analyzes Construction Worker Fatalities
Chart of Fatal Falls in Construction, 2011-2019
The new issue of the CPWR Data Bulletin examines fatal injuries in construction from 2011 through 2019. It shows that there were more than 1,100 fatal injuries in 2019, the highest level since 2011, and that they increased sharply among Hispanic workers. The Data Bulletin also finds that nearly two-thirds of 2019’s fatal injuries were caused by the Construction Focus Four hazards – falls, struck-by, electrocutions, and caught-in/between.
National Struck-by Stand-Down Takes Place April 26
CPWR and the NORA Construction Sector Council will be leading the second annual Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents in Construction on April 26. The Stand-Down, to take place on the first day of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 26-30), asks contractors to pause work to recognize that struck-by incidents are a leading cause of death among construction workers and to educate their crews about risks and solutions for mitigating them. To make the Stand-Down a success during COVID-19, we are encouraging contractors, workers, and other stakeholders to participate virtually. More information on ways to participate will be posted on CPWR's Work Zone Safety webpage soon.
8th Annual OSHA-NIOSH-CPWR National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls: May 3-7
As the new Data Bulletin documents, falls continue to be the number one cause of workplace fatalities in construction. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that between 2018 and 2019, fall fatalities in the industry increased from 337 to 413, which makes it more important than ever to re-focus on fall hazard awareness and the prevention of falls, particularly as employers and employees are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. CPWR will be posting new resources and information leading up to and during the Stand-Down week in May and will be hosting webinars with members of the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standards Committee and the National Roofing Contractors Association. 
Also, to improve our resources and outreach efforts, we are conducting a fall experience survey to learn more about the root causes of falls from heights. If you have experienced, witnessed, or investigated a fall incident, please consider completing the survey.
New Resources on COVID-19 Vaccinations
In collaboration with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and NIOSH, CPWR has just released resources to help the construction industry understand the science and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines. These materials include an FAQ and a series of COVID-19 vaccine-related infographics. 

New Video on the BTMed Program
The CPWR-led Building Trades National Medical Screening Program (BTMed) provides free medical screening services to construction workers formerly employed at Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons sites, who may be at risk for occupational illnesses. A new video highlights the benefits BTMed brings to those workers, helping identify work-related health conditions at an early, more treatable stage and providing information that improves their understanding of their health and well-being. 

CPWR COVID-19 Exposure Control Planning Tool
CPWR has developed multiple resources to help protect workers from COVID-19, prevent its spread, and keep job sites open, including the free, online COVID-19 Exposure Control Planning Tool. OSHA and NIOSH recommend that employers have a plan to assess the risk and take action, and our tool lets users create their plan in four steps:

  1. Assess the risk for exposure to COVID-19 and the control measures that will be used to prevent exposure, such as using physical distancing.
  2. Establish a protocol for screening workers and visitors and handling those who become sick or may have been exposed on the job.
  3. Identify the COVID-19-related training that will be provided, including who will be trained, how the training will be provided, and who will conduct the training.
  4. Complete the final elements of the plan, including information about the job and who will be responsible for implementing the plan.

The planning tool is aligned with the COVID-19 Construction Clearinghouse to make it easy to find additional information on ways to implement controls, conduct screenings, and provide training. The tool is still evolving; if you have questions or ideas to improve it, please email [email protected].
New Report Examines Contractors’ Actions to Improve Ventilation to Reduce COVID-19 Spread in Enclosed Work Areas During Cold Weather
Working in partnership with the NIOSH NORA Construction Sector Council’s COVID-19 Work Group, CPWR surveyed contractors about the ventilation challenges facing the construction industry and steps they are taking to increase ventilation to address COVID-19’s spread in enclosed work areas on job sites. This new report summarizes their responses.
R2: Drilling into concrete: Effect of feed force on handle vibration and productivity
Lucia Botti, Bernard Martin, Alan Barr, Jay Kapellusch, Cristina Mora, David Rempel. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 2020. Read the Key Finding.
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.
Thursday, March 18th at 2:00 p.m. ET -- CPWR-NIOSH COVID-19 Webinar: An Update on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Q&A with CDC’s Essential Workers Team
This webinar is a follow-up to January’s session on Vaccination & Ventilation: A Conversation about Next Steps in COVID-19 Prevention. Capt. Lisa Delaney, lead of the Essential Workers Team on CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, will elaborate on what we know about the current COVID-19 vaccines and address your unanswered questions. After her presentation, G. Scott Earnest, associate director for Construction in NIOSH’s Office of Construction Safety and Health, will moderate a Q+A session.

Please be aware that the webinar platform enables 1,000 people to attend live; however, everyone who registers for the event will automatically receive the recording. 
CPWR Executive Director Chris Trahan Cain will be a panelist on the first webinar in NIOSH’s 2021 Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series: Exploring the future of worker health and safety in the post-pandemic world. This webinar, taking place March 10, will explore perspectives on worker health and safety of labor associations of major industry sectors in the U.S. Register here.

Past Webinars
Learn more about our recent webinars on COVID-19 and the construction industry, as well as webinars on a wide range of safety and health topics.
CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has job openings -- visit our Career Opportunities page for current postings and instructions on applying.
Speaking Engagements

10:45 – 11:45: Nanomaterials in the Workplace: Epidemiological Research, Exposure Assessment, and Hazard Communication
  • Bruce Lippy, Nanomaterials Research Consultant
  • Gavin West, Director, Nanomaterials Research