New Site Catalogs Residential Construction Devices

The site was developed by faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis and supported by CPWR (the Center for Construction Research and Training) through a NIOSH cooperative agreement.

Occupational safety and health researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a website that provides detailed information about 150 devices that can improve residential construction worker safety when working at heights. According to Dr. Vicki Kaskutas, OTR/L, OTD, FAOTA, the website's developer, it was developed to help contractors comply with revised OSHA standards for residential construction fall prevention.

The new website supplements OSHA's Guidance Document for Residential Construction, which demonstrates fall prevention equipment for each construction phase. Gallery pages allow website users to view an array of devices on one page; a separate page for each device includes a description of the purpose, installation instructions, phases of construction where the device can be used, pictures of the device, vendors, price range, video, and links to the manufacturer's website and device manual. This level of details about the devices was not provided in OSHA's guidance document.

The website adjusts to handheld devices to optimize viewing while in the field. Users knowing the type of equipment needed can enter the website by device type (personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, scaffolds, ladder accessories, hole covers, and lifts). The devices are also organized by phase of construction (floor joist installation, wall installation, windows and doors, truss setting, roof sheathing, shingling, maintenance, attic work, and HVAC), allowing users to search for devices in this manner. The website warns users to select devices based upon professional expertise; to follow the manufacturer's instructions, requirements, and warnings; and to abide by federal and state safety regulations.

The site has had more than 2,000 visitors in the eight weeks since they posted it. Its development was supported by the Center for Construction Research and Training with funding through the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Individuals wanting more information or requesting a print version of the website can contact Dr. Kaskutas at kaskutasv@wustl.edu.

She is an associate professor in Occupational Therapy and Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine.

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