NIOSH Releases Prevention Through Design Plan

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released “Prevention through Design: Plan for the National Initiative,” a statement of goals and strategies for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses by designing occupational hazards out of work equipment, structures, materials and processes.

The plan is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-121.

The Prevention through Design (PtD) Plan incorporates comments and suggestions from diverse stakeholders, including those offered by participants at a July 2007 national workshop on PtD and a December 2009 national workshop that examined challenges and opportunities for PtD in designing safe “green” industries and jobs.

The plan is organized around five overarching areas:

  • Research to establish the value of already adopted PtD interventions, address existing design-related challenges and suggest areas for future examination.
  • Education to help designers, engineers, employers and others understand and apply PtD methods.
  • Practice of PtD through accessing, sharing and applying successful strategies.
  • Policy initiatives to encourage and endorse a culture that includes PtD principles in all designs affecting worker safety and health.
  • A small-business focus to tailor and diffuse successful PtD programs and practices to the needs of small employers.

“In many respects, PtD is a transformative concept for the 21st century,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “It views investments in worker safety and health as an integral part of business efficiency and quality, rather than as a cost. It is also a practical concept that has already been used successfully in several model applications. We look forward to working further with our partners to advance the goals outlined in the plan.”

The plan describes intermediate goals for each focus area with steps to demonstrate how each goal can be achieved and measured. The plan also includes four case studies in which PtD was a principle behind successful safety and health partnerships.

Additional information on PtD can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/PtD.

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