CPWR report examines causes of death for current, retired and former construction workers

Original article published by Safety+Health

Silver Spring, MD — Of the nearly 225,000 construction worker deaths recorded in 2020, 60% were at least 65 years old, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Researchers looked at 2020 data from the National Vital Statistics System, which included all causes of death for construction workers – employed, retired or no longer working – from every state except Arizona, North Carolina, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Findings show that, among the 224,400 deaths, the majority were non-Hispanic (88%), white (87%) and male (96%).

The leading cause of death varied by age group. For workers 16-34, the leading cause was poisoning and exposure to narcotics and hallucinogens (17%). For those 35 and older, COVID-19 was the leading cause, including nearly 15,000 workers 65 or older. Another 8,700 workers at least 65 years old died of heart disease.

“Although CPWR and others have extensively researched fatal occupational injuries, there is limited information on deaths not on the jobsite among construction workers, even though worksite exposures and tasks may result in lifetime health impacts such as cancers,” CPWR says.

The report was published in the January issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Create a safety committee

Original article published by Safety+Health

Does your workplace have a safety committee? If not, the new year is the perfect time to get one started. Here’s how CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training outlines setting up a committee.

First, determine who the members will be. Will it be volunteer-based, or will workers be elected by their co-workers? Will company leaders have a spot at the table?

Next, plan to meet once a month to “discuss hazards and the ways of preventing those hazards.” Safety regulations and training are two other topics for your meeting agenda.

Examples from CPWR of questions to ask:

  • Are workers protected against falls by guardrails or fall arrest systems?
  • Are workers wearing safety glasses to protect against flying objects?
  • Are all workers trained to respond appropriately if there’s a risk of contamination from hazardous chemicals?

The center also suggests committees meet every three months to complete a “workplace inspection to identify hazardous conditions.”

Part of this discussion should include a strategy for how you’ll get workers to cooperate and help the committee identify hazards.

During all meetings and inspections, make sure someone is taking notes. Afterward, give copies to your employer and committee members, and post the notes in a spot where all workers can see and read them.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Drone use in construction can distract workers and increase risk of falls: CPWR

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: Courtesy of 3D Robotics 

Silver Spring, MD — As the use of drone technology in the construction industry expands, so too do safety concerns related to worker distraction and potential collisions while operating at height.

That’s the conclusion of researchers from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, who in a recent study analyzed the behaviors of 153 participants “with varying construction experience” in a virtual construction site.

Findings show that working with or near drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, “reduces the attention workers devote to the task at hand, which could result in falls when they are at height.” Workers operating while drones were 12 and 25 feet away looked away from job tasks more frequently than when drones were 1.5 and 4 feet away.

Additionally, working with drones at any distance contributes to “significant” psychological or emotional distress. Workers may feel as though they’re constantly being monitored. They also might be fearful of being struck by a drone, as they already operate in high-risk environments at height.

2021 survey conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with CPWR, among other organizations, found that 37% of construction contractors use drones on worksites, while an additional 6% anticipated future use. Still, the study concluded that construction workers “generally have a negative attitude” toward working with or near drones.

To help ensure safe integration of drones in construction, CPWR advises employers to:

  • Train workers. “There are currently no specific OSHA standards or guidelines regarding UAVs on construction sites, so training workers is even more critical. The training content needs to be developed to not only educate workers about UAVs, but also help familiarize them with working alongside UAVs.” CPWR says virtual reality training carries multiple benefits and may help workers view drones “less negatively.”
  • Design drones to “limit the frequency and severity of risks” they pose to workers and minimize crash impact.
  • Prepare worksites to ensure drones “work efficiently and safely around workers,” accounting for factors that include drone size and shape, flight path, and weather conditions.

CPWR also suggests using the Hierarchy of Controls to assist with hazard prevention. When possible, schedule work so employees aren’t present in areas in which drones are operating. Use drones only for operations that provide “significant benefits” over traditional work methods, and isolate workers from drones when no substitute for drone use exists.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Preventing suicide and overdose in the construction industry: Takeaways from CPWR workshop

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: CPWR

Washington — A new white paper from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training details key takeaways from a two-day workshop on “Combating Suicide and Overdose Fatalities Among Construction Workers.”

The workshop took place Aug. 1-2 in the nation’s capital and was funded by NIOSH.

The white paper outlines training available to help workers, best practices for training effectiveness, and smartphone apps to use and hotlines to call when a worker is in need. The resource also looks at related challenges, such as stigma.

CPWR Executive Director Chris Trahan Cain highlights research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that both male and female workers in construction and extraction jobs “have a higher prevalence of dying by suicide than the average male or female worker.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Improving nanomaterial Safety Data Sheets: CPWR launches e-tool

Original article published by Safety+Health
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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — A new e-tool from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training is intended to help manufacturers, distributors and importers of products that contain nanomaterials strengthen their Safety Data Sheets.

The free, interactive Nano Safety Data Sheet Improvement Tool poses to users a series of questions to help evaluate their existing SDSs, and then generates a report with recommendations for improvement. That report is based on the 16 sections of an SDS required by OSHA that follow specifications of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

Nanomaterials – materials that have at least one dimension (height, width or length) that’s smaller than 100 nanometers – are chemical substances whose microscopic size gives them properties they don’t possess in their larger form.

CPWR has identified more than 800 nanomaterials that are increasingly being used in construction. Those materials include sealants, coatings, paints, concrete, flooring, lubricants and roofing materials. When workers use the materials, they can be exposed to fumes, gases, vapors and dust containing nanomaterials, which can present health hazards.

Knowing which materials could be hazardous allows workers to take precautions to mitigate the risks, according to CPWR, which says SDSs for these products should clearly identify nanomaterials that are present and offer information on potential safety and health risks.

2019 study led by Laura Hodson, the retired coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, revealed that only 3% of the nanomaterial SDSs evaluated were satisfactory and 79% needed significant improvement.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

CPWR: Construction industry accounts for about half of job-related electrical deaths

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — Roughly half of the fatal workplace injuries related to electricity exposure in a recent 10-year period occurred in construction, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Using 2011-2020 data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, researchers identified 1,501 fatal occupational electrical injuries in all industries. Of those, 49.1% involved construction workers. Additionally, 24.4% of nonfatal electrical injuries occurred in construction. CPWR says the industry employs 7% of the U.S. workforce.

Overall, fatal injuries were more often a result of direct exposure (58.8%) than indirect (38.9%). Direct exposure is associated with contacting a live wire, while indirect exposure may include operating a crane that touches a power line.

The researchers also analyzed OSHA enforcement data. Among their findings:

  • In 2020, establishments with fewer than 10 employees accounted for 71.5% of OSHA citations for violations of federal electrical standards, while comprising 81.4% of establishments overall.
  • By North American Industry Classification System code, 70.5% of citations for electrical standards involved specialty trade contractors; the NAICS code for construction of buildings (26.1%) and heavy and civil engineering construction (3.4%) followed. Specialty trade contractors accounted for 71.1% of fatal electrical injuries.
  • OSHA citations for violations of federal electrical standards decreased 73.5% from 2011 to 2021. Electrical standard citations comprised 2.7% of citations in construction in 2021 – down from 6.5% in 2011.

The report was published in the November issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Study shows that texting toolbox talks to supervisors helps make safety meetings happen

Original article published by Safety + Health

Portland, OR — A recent study of residential construction supervisors in Oregon who received toolbox talks via text messages showed that their compliance with Oregon OSHA’s standard on safety meetings increased – and the delivery method was welcomed.

Researchers sent seven different toolbox talks, based on Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation reports, to 56 supervisors via text every two weeks for three months. Results show that adherence to the agency’s standard, which requires at least one safety meeting a month and a meeting before the start of each job that lasts more than a week, rose 19.4% among the participants.

“We were able to see that using mobile phone technology to disseminate these toolbox talks was feasible and desirable among supervisors,” study co-author Sean Rice, a biostatistician with the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health and Sciences University, told Safety+Health. “We were able to do it, and people seemed to like it.”

Topics of the toolbox talks included falls from a scaffold, a ladder, through a skylight and down an elevator shaft. The supervisors also received a link to access the online toolbox talk libraries of Oregon FACE and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. The supervisors were asked to use the featured toolbox talk when it was appropriate for their jobsite’s safety concerns and work phase, or find one from one of the libraries that better suited their needs.

The researchers also asked the supervisors about how they communicated the toolbox talks to their workers. While 54% either read the talk or printed documents to share, 41% said they preferred toolbox talks in a video or audio format.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Annual ‘Death on the Job’ report part of Workers’ Memorial Week

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: AFL-CIO

Washington — “The nation must renew its commitment to protecting workers from job injury, disease and death, and make this a high priority,” the AFL-CIO says in its annual report on the state of safety and health protections for U.S. workers.

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect is published annually during the week of Workers’ Memorial Day – observed on April 28 to honor people who have lost their lives on the job. It highlights state and federal data on work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, as well on worker protections.

In 2020, the number of workplace deaths decreased to 4,764 from 5,333 in the previous year, while the national fatality rate dropped to 3.4 per 100,000 workers from 3.5, the report states. However, AFL-CIO points out that the total excludes the “many thousands who died from being exposed to COVID-19 at work,” in part because “employer reporting of COVID-19 cases still is mandatory only in a few states with specific standards or orders.”

Also from the report:

  • Workplace violence accounted for 705 deaths, including 392 homicides, and was the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths behind transportation incidents (1,778 deaths); slips, trips and falls (805); and contact with objects or equipment (716).
  • Black and Latino workers were at greater risk of dying on the job. The fatality rate for Blacks (3.5 per 100,000 workers) and Latinos (4.5) remains higher than the national average, with the rate for Latino workers climbing 15% over the past decade.
  • A third of the deaths involved workers 55 and older, while those 65 and older had a fatality rate of 8.6 per 100,000 workers.
  • The agriculture, forestry, and fishing and hunting industry had the highest fatality rate, at 21.5 per 100,000 workers. Transportation and warehousing (13.4) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (10.5) followed.

“Employers must meet their responsibilities to protect workers and be held accountable if they put workers in danger. Only then can the promise of safe jobs for all of America’s workers be fulfilled,” the AFL-CIO said. “There is much more work to be done to ensure the fundamental right to a safe job is a reality for all.”

In a press release recognizing Workers’ Memorial Day, Labor Secretary Mary Walsh said that although each workplace death is tragic, lives “taken in incidents that might have been prevented – had their employers followed required safety and health standards – are especially painful.”

He continued: “While we have made much progress toward safer workplaces, we must do more to ensure that employers understand and take responsibility for addressing workplace hazards and keep them from causing workplace fatalities. As our economy continues its recovery, we are determined to empower workers as well so they can recognize the hazards around them, and demand their rights to a safe workplace without fear of retaliation.”

Other prominent voices from the occupational safety and health community offered their views on Workers’ Memorial Day.

“As we commemorate Worker’s Memorial Day, we remember that behind every fatality number is a worker,” NIOSH Director John Howard writes in an agency blog post. “Someone who has family, friends, community and a life. NIOSH remains committed to protecting workers across occupations and industries, addressing threats to workers’ safety, health and well-being, and collaborating with partners to address emerging and long-standing risks.”

Chris Cain, executive director of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, said in a press release that the observance “offers people and organizations two important opportunities: to remember those who have died and to strengthen their commitment to make sure every worker comes home safely every day.”

Cain added: “Remember that workers alone cannot create safe jobsites – it also takes the dedication of owners, contractors, managers, government officials and many others.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-By Incidents set for April

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
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Photo: CPWR

Washington — The third annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-By Incidents is expanding to a full week from a one-day event.

Set to take place April 11-15, the stand-down is a collaborative effort led by NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda Construction Sector Council. The event, scheduled in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, is aimed at raising awareness of struck-by hazards and ways to prevent them. According to OSHA, the four most common struck-by hazards are being struck by a flying, falling, swinging or rolling object.

CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training and the NORA Construction Sector Council’s struck-by work group have scheduled a series of webinars throughout the week. Topics will include work zone safety, lift zone safety, heavy equipment and dropped objects.

CPWR also is offering various online resources, including infographics, toolbox talks, research and two on-demand webinars from last year’s stand-down: Cranes & Lifting – Avoiding Struck-By Incidents Under the Hook and Preventing Struck-By Incidents: Learning by Experience.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Anxiety and depression in construction workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Image from CPWR

Silver Spring, MD — Symptoms of anxiety and depression among construction workers have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among women and workers living in poverty, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Anxiety and depression are of particular importance in the construction industry, CPWR notes, citing a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that concluded male construction workers have one of the highest suicide rates among all industries and are at four times greater risk than the general public.

Using 2011-2018 and 2020 data from the National Health Interview Survey, researchers examined self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression among construction workers to uncover any potential patterns and changes amid the pandemic. During the time frame prior to the pandemic, the number of construction workers who reported feeling anxious at least once a month rose 20%.

Among a subset of nearly 1,300 construction workers who were surveyed in both 2019 and 2020, 43% reported a rise in the level or frequency of anxiety/depression feelings between the two years. Those increased feelings were most prevalent among workers whose family incomes were below the poverty line (61%), female workers (50%) and those ages 18-54 (46%).

The 2020 data shows that symptoms of or medication use for anxiety/depression were nearly three times higher for workers who used prescription opioids in the past year (39%) compared with those who did not (14%).

Construction employers can act by sharing resources with their workers. CPWR offers resources on suicide prevention and preventing opioid deaths, while NIOSH has a webpage on stress at work.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.