From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
November 2020
NIEHS’s ECWTP Celebrates 25 Years of Training Workers from Disadvantaged Communities
The Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) trains and helps secure jobs for economically disadvantaged workers living in communities surrounding EPA Superfund priority and brownfield sites. With funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), CPWR collaborates with Building Trades Unions, community-based organizations, and others in four cities to enhance program participants’ life skills and employment opportunities, increasing their access to long-term, well-paid jobs in the construction and/or environmental cleanup industries. Visit the NIEHS website to learn more about ECWTP’s 25 years of success, including a CPWR trainee’s story and work on the Flint water crisis.  
CPWR’s ECWTP is just one of the ways our training programs help the construction industry. Through our partnerships with local and international union apprenticeship programs, we help workers across the nation learn how to respond to specific hazards and to create a strong safety culture — all to reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
Applications Open for the 2021
Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award
The Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction honors innovative, evidence-based interventions -- including technologies, work practices, and programs -- to reduce hazards for construction workers. Sponsored by Liberty Mutual and administered by CPWR, the award includes a $15,000 cash prize to the winning individual or organization. One or more honorable mentions may also be awarded, each with a $5,000 prize. The application deadline for 2021 is February 28, 2021; learn more about the award on our website, including about last year’s honorees. 
New 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 and Updated Hazard-Specific Resources
CPWR has added to our growing collection of free, hazard-specific resources with a new infographic (in English and Spanish) on the importance of eye protection. Also, our Hazard Alert Card series now includes updated English and Spanish versions of Electrical Safety for Non-Electricians.
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, those with 19 employees or fewer. We are giving priority to 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.
Change in frontline supervisors’ safety leadership practices after participating in a leadership training program: Does company size matter?
Natalie V. Schwakta, Linda M. Goldenhar, Stefanie K. Johnson. Journal of Safety Research, 2020. Read the Key Finding.
Operating Engineers and the OSHA Silica Standard: A Survey of Union Trainers
Grace Barlet, Rosemary K. Sokas, and Eileen Betit. NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, 2020. Read the Key Finding
Today, November 12, 12:30 p.m. ET -- CPWR-NIEHS-NIOSH COVID-19 Webinar: NIEHS Activities, Tools and Resources to Protect Workers from COVID-19

Staff from the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) and the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training will give an overview of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) activities, tools and resources to provide health and safety guidance to workers who work in industries with the potential for exposure to COVID-19. These resources include the goals and objectives of the training initiative, essential and awareness training curricula, infection control workplace checklist, webinars, and upcoming activities. Hear presentations from Deborah Weinstock, director of the NIEHS National Clearinghouse, and Jonathan Rosen, industrial hygienist at the Clearinghouse, and join a Q+A session moderated by Sharon D. Beard, industrial hygienist at the NIEHS WTP.
Thursday, December 3, 2020, 2:00 p.m. ET -- CPWR-NIOSH COVID-19 Webinar Series: Effectively Delivering Safety and Health Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused rapid changes to safety and health training in the construction industry. In turn, trainers have quickly adjusted and innovated in delivering critical safety and health training while keeping trainees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. How has distance learning evolved during this period, how does distance learning compare to face-to-face learning, and are these programs meeting their goals and objectives are questions addressed in a recent study. Hear Sue Ann Sarpy, who conducted the study, describe its results and get “tips and tools” for how to effectively deliver training while protecting workers during a pandemic.

CPWR in the News
Career Opportunities
CPWR has job openings -- visit our Career Opportunities page for current postings and instructions on applying.
Speaking Engagements
December Meeting: "A Christmas Potpourri of Construction Safety Tools"

  • Grace Barlet, Research Assistant
  • Jessica Bunting, Assistant Director, Research to Practice
  • Linda Goldenhar, Director, Evaluation and Research
  • Bruce Libby, Director, Nanomaterials Research