Research Portal

October 12, 2020

Developing a Prevention through Design Guide for Worker Safety

Previous studies on construction hazard prevention have shown that almost 50% of construction fatalities and accidents can be linked to decisions made during the design process. To address influence of upstream design decisions on worker safety, researchers have developed the Prevention through Design (PtD) concept to proactively eliminate safety hazards in the workplace. PtD involves recognizing and designing out any workplace hazards and in all types of designs, from work methods and processes to equipment, tools, materials, and technologies. Despite the advancement of PtD and its applications in over 25 standards, there is little to no study specifically aimed to formalize how to apply PtD to improve worker safety in the Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) Industry. As a result, there has been no formal documentation available that offers a PtD implementation guide and cases in the MEP industry. The lack of formal guides appears to be the main barrier to the implementation of PtD in the MEP industry.

In response, this project aims to identify best practices when implementing the PtD concept to improve worker safety, as applicable to MEP design and construction. The identification has led to a synthesis and reporting of best implementation practices and exemplary cases from a number of leading MEP design companies and contractors with input from MEP professionals, workers, and safety managers, which will benefit the overall industry. These are reported in an implementation guide titled, “Prevention Through Design for Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Worker Safety .” Additionally, these findings are synthesized in a video.