Prevention through Design

The construction industry has high numbers and rates of fatal and non-fatal, work-related injuries. Nearly 20% of all workplace fatalities in the U.S. occur in the construction industry, while construction workers represent approximately 7% of all U.S. workers. Designing out a hazard is the most reliable and effective way to protect workers.

Prevention through Design (PtD) is a concept that encourages architects and design engineers to consider the safety of construction and maintenance workers early in the design phase of a project.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) leads a PtD initiative intended to prevent occupational injuries and fatalities through the inclusion of prevention considerations in all designs that impact workers.

The concepts of PtD are internationally practiced – referred to as “design for construction safety,” among other terms – and have been shown to be effective in reducing workers’ injuries and deaths. Practical resources for implementing PtD are available from many sources, including resources for both large and small organizations.

This presentation will include examples from the Port of Portland, which used PtD in planning and construction of a large parking and rental car center, a $325 million construction of five facilities.

PtD is consistent with sustainable construction and enhances workplace safety culture, where owners and managers demonstrate commitment to integrating safety as a core organizational value and ensure accountability. Barriers to greater promotion and adoption of PtD exist in the U.S. An important goal of NIOSH for PtD is to acknowledge and promote discussion of these barriers so that long-term solutions can be identified and implemented.

Learning objectives:

  • Rationale and basis for Prevention through Design in the construction and building industry
  • Opportunities and resources for education concerning PtD priorities and processes, including current case examples of PtD being practiced in the U.S. and internationally
  • Policies, regulations, and guidance documents related to PtD
  • Actions to promote greater use of PtD in the U.S. construction and building industries
10:45 AM - 11:15 AM
24 May 2024
Federal A


Doug Trout
Medical Officer, Office of Construction Safety and Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health