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High Interest Expected for NIOSH-Funded Construction Safety Center

NIOSH has set a May 15 deadline for applications to create a National Center for Construction Safety and Health. The center will have important goals that include planning and facilitating research and providing leadership for implementing NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) National Construction Agenda, which contains 15 strategic goals that address the top 10 problems in construction health and safety. The agenda was revised last October. Letters of intent to develop the center are due by March 16, and Steve Inserra, a NIOSH staffer who is the contact person for the center's funding opportunity announcement (FOA), said Monday he's hearing a lot of early interest. The FOA was highlighted in NIOSH's latest e-newsletter, it is on the Web site, and Inserra has been alerting construction industry contacts about it.

"Basically, the feedback is just beginning," Inserra said. "We are getting some inquiries on an individual basis, and there is some interest from organizations." He was a member of the Construction Sector Council that helped to develop the National Construction Agenda, which contains seven outcome goals (falls, electrocution, struck-by hazards, noise and hearing loss, silica exposures and illnesses, welding fumes and illnesses, and musculoskeletal disorders) and eight contributing factor goals (culture, safety and health management, industry and work organization, training and education issues, disparities in health and safety in construction, hazards prevention through design, improved surveillance of hazards and outcomes, and engaging the media to raise awareness and improve safety and health in construction).

NIOSH encourages applicants to develop at least seven hypothesis-driven research projects for each year of funding -- at least one for each of the three outcome categories, at least three for contributing factor categories, and at least one targeting a priority topic identified by the National Academies in a 2008 review and report. Emerging construction safety and health issues that stem from using new types of construction materials, equipment, or changes will be addressed by anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the center's budget, while research is expected to get 50 to 60 percent of the budget, according to the FOA.

The center will be expected to produce an annual report and to host a full-day Construction Center Principals' Meeting annually.

Application details and requirements for RFA–OH-09-001 may be found at (under Funding Opportunities, click on Cooperative Agreements) or by contacting Inserra at 404-498-2552 or [email protected]

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