Comments Due on Draft NIOSH Research Agenda for Construction

The comment deadline is Nov. 27, but only a handful of comments have been posted.

NIOSH has a draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Construction out for comments, with a comment deadline of Nov. 27. Only a handful of comments have been submitted, but the agenda itself is interesting because it lists the agency’s proposed research priorities for the occupational sector that accounts for more fatal injuries than any other, and it also discusses emerging issues that are beginning to be important, or may become important, in construction safety and health.

The agenda is available in the rulemaking docket CDC-2017-0084 at www.regulations.gov. It discusses research objectives in 16 overall areas, including falls, struck-by incidents, electrical hazards, respiratory and dermal exposures, hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders, motor vehicle safety in construction, extreme temperatures, and training.

The section on emerging issues, Objective 10 in the agenda, lists these suggested emerging issues, which the agenda says is not meant to be exhaustive and is intended to prompt researchers to consider:

  • Infectious agents
  • Nanomaterials
  • prescription opioid abuse
  • robotics, automation, and exoskeletons
  • smart construction and infrastructure (such as drone use)
  • technology in construction

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in December 2016 that fatal injuries during 2015 among construction and extraction occupations rose by 2 percent to 924 cases in 2015—the highest number since 2008, and that several construction occupations recorded their highest fatality total in years, including laborers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.

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