From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
November 2022
New Data Bulletin Focuses on Electrical Hazards
The November issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin examines fatal and nonfatal electrical injuries in construction, as well as OSHA citations and penalties resulting from violations of electrical standards. The Data Bulletin finds that almost half of all fatal and nearly a quarter of nonfatal electrical injuries from 2011 to 2020 occurred in construction, even though the industry employs only 7% of the U.S. workforce. Other key findings include that more than one-third of fatal electrical injuries were caused by direct exposure to voltage greater than 220 volts -- that is, overhead voltage such as power lines and industrial transformers -- and OSHA citations for violations of federal electrical standards decreased 74% from 2011 to 2021.

Nominate a Safety Innovation for the ’23 Liberty Mutual Award
Nominations have just opened for the 2023 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. This intervention can be an evidence-based technology, work practice, program, or grass-roots campaign/media engagement focused on reaching smaller contractors or other underserved segments of the construction workforce. Sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance in partnership with CPWR, the award -- now in its fourth year -- includes a $15,000 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 January 31, 2023.
New Free Tool Improves Nanomaterial Safety Data Sheets
CPWR has launched the Nano Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Improvement Tool, which will help manufacturers, distributors, and importers of products containing nanomaterials strengthen their SDSs. CPWR’s existing eLCOSH Nano Inventory provides information about the use of manufactured nanomaterials in a wide range of over 800 construction products, but studies show that many SDSs do a poor job of communicating nanomaterial hazard information for protecting workers. The free, interactive SDS Improvement Tool uses questions to evaluate an existing SDS and generate recommendations, based on authoritative guidance, regulations, and good industrial hygiene practice. SDS users may also find this tool helpful to evaluate the information they receive about potential nanomaterial hazards.

Three Data Dashboards Post Updated Data
Three of CPWR’s 22 highly interactive Data Dashboards -- Construction Fatality Map, Construction Payroll Establishments and Employees, and Severe Injuries -- now offer new data. New dashboards and updates to existing dashboards are posted regularly, and, as always, the underlying data can be downloaded in a spreadsheet for additional analysis.  
2022 Trainer Enhancement Returns to Meeting In-Person
Each year, CPWR hosts a Trainer Enhancement for Building Trades environmental, health and safety instructors and OSHA Master Trainers, providing instructor development, networking, and resources This year’s event, held in Indianapolis, was the first in-person gathering since 2019 and focused on respiratory protection. Interactive training sessions enabled participants to learn about the latest regulations and standards and gave participants the chance to inspect, use, clean, and disinfect SCBA, SAR, APR/PAPR respirators. Sharon Beard, director of the NIEHS Worker Training Program, presented NIEHS resources for protecting workers’ health and safety against the impact of climate change. A notable addition to this year’s program was the introduction of CPWR staff who are critical to our training program: Equipment Manager Jade Almond and Training Coordinators Yohanna Polanco and Tinée Shorts.
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 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, please contact Sara Brooks ([email protected], 301-495-8532) with any questions. The following sampling forms are available to submit measurements:
November's webinar will be announced soon. Until then, view past webinars -- including recent ones on distance learning, electrical hazards, and suicide prevention -- for free on demand.
CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has openings for two positions:

Visit our Career Opportunities page for instructions on applying.
Speaking Engagements
11/7, 2:45 p.m. -- Double Feature: Evaluating Benefits of the NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program- Lessons Learned and Best Practices in Advancing the Justice40 Initiative for Environmental Justice
  • Sue Ann Sarpy, Sarpy and Associates, LLC

11/7, 3:00 p.m. -- Poster session: Identifying and prioritizing hazardous chemicals in construction metal structure coating systems: a systematic review of product composition, frequency of use, occupational exposures, and health effects
  • Paridhi Patel, University of Massachusetts Lowell
11/8, 2:30 p.m. -- Round Table: Risks that workers face
  • William Harris, Research Analyst, CPWR -- Fatality trends in three construction and extraction occupations with the most fatal injuries, 2011-2020
  • Grace Barlet, Research Analyst, CPWR -- identifying the underlying causes of work-related falls from heights

11/9, 8:30 a.m. -- Innovative training and programs to support workforce development
  • Christopher Rodman, Opioid Project Coordinator, CPWR -- Piloting a discussion-based mental health training program in the construction trades