Construction Health and Safety

Construction is a high hazard industry, it has the highest fatality rate of any industry in the U.S. Construction workers engage in many activities that may expose them to serious hazards, such as falling from rooftops, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos.Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction. LOHP has been involved in construction safety since 1991. We produced the first Tailgate Training Guidebook for construction workers nationwide in partnership with the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC), AFL-CIO, and the Association of General Contractors (AGC).


September 2014-August 2016

  • University of California Berkeley, Labor Occupational Health Program
  • West Virginia University, of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences
  • Funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)
[NIOSH/Center for Construction Research and Training 2014-2017] The purpose of this study is to help improve the quality of health and safety education provided in post-secondary Career Technical Education construction programs with the long term goal of helping to reduce the burden of injury and illness in the construction industry.

Many new entrants into the construction labor force participate in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs—formerly known as “vocational education”—at the high school or community/technical college level. Approximately 225,000 secondary and postsecondary graduates take one or more construction-related classes through CTE programs in any given year. Post-secondary construction programs (e.g., programs for electrical installers, carpenters, plumbing services, masons, and general construction) alone train approximately 95,000 students annually, 43% of which are under the age of 25. Because CTE construction programs are one of the few places new construction workers receive any kind of training or preparation, they are an important vehicle for educating new and young workers about construction health and safety.

There have been no systematic studies that describe OSH education in these programs, or that have assessed what constitutes “effective” health and safety education in post-secondary CTE construction programs. Through the use of a national survey of post-secondary CTE construction program administrators and instructors, and health and safety knowledge assessments of students in these programs, we will 1: Determine the elements of effective health and safety education in post-secondary CTE construction programs; and 2: Characterize the state of existing health and safety education in post-secondary CTE construction programs.

During the third year of the project, we will prepare and disseminate a consensus guide that summarizes the study findings and includes recommendations for improving health and safety education in CTE construction programs based on these findings. With help from our partners, the Association of Career Technical Educators (ACTE) and the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE), and from the advisory group, the consensus guide and other identified resources will be disseminated to post-secondary CTE instructors and key collaborators around the US.

Faculty Partners: Kimberly Rauscher and Doug Myers, West Virginia University

For more information click on the link below:

Integrating Occupational Safety and Health Training into Career Technical Education in Construction


r2p roadmap

As part of LOHP’s outreach for the Region 9 NIOSH Education Research Center (ERC), staff partnered with CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to adapt CPWR’s construction-specific Research to Practice (R2P) Roadmap for General Industry. (Click here for CPWR’s Construction-Specific Research to Practice Roadmap.)

The Roadmap walks researchers through a series of questions to guide their dissemination journey. These include considering goals, target audiences, critical partners, dissemination strategies, communication channels, resource needs, barriers, and possible evaluation measures.

The Roadmap consists of a guidance document and a worksheet:


Falls are a major cause of deaths among construction workers and especially among Hispanic (or Latino) construction workers. The primary goal of this project is to identify the messages and strategies through formative research that would be effective in a national Spanish-language campaign to reduce fall-related injuries and fatalities among Hispanic construction workers. In 2007, the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley organized a national conference and developed a report at the request of and in collaboration with the Center for Construction Research and Education (CPWR) and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC). The final report of the conference developed by LOHP titled, “Immigrant Workers in U.S. Construction Sharing Lessons Learned in our Unions,” provided a picture of and a forum to discuss the efforts unions, apprenticeship programs, and worker centers were undertaking to address health and safety and provide effective training for Latino immigrants. One of the topics of discussion at this meeting was the issues, needs, and next steps to implement a fall-prevention campaign that considered the linguistic, cultural and educational needs specific to the Spanish-speaking immigrant worker population. This project will continue the work initiated at this conference to develop such a fall-prevention campaign. Specifically, utilizing the contacts and materials generated by this conference it will carry out in depth formative research to guide development of the campaign, including identifying messages, materials and strategies, developing selected prototypes and pretesting.


The 2012 Construction Case Study Training Guide was developed by the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at the University of California Berkeley, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) program at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC), AFL-CIO. This Guide was developed as part of the state’s Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program (WOSHTEP) (lohp web link to woshtep). WOSHTEP is administered by the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation in the Department of Industrial Relations through interagency agreements with the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at UC Berkeley, the Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) program at UCLA, and the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) at UC Davis. CHECK OUT LOHP’s new Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Insulation Hazard Factsheet. Click here to view.


In 2001, LOHP and the SBCTC updated the guidebook, Tailgate Training for California Construction Workers.It includes detailed Training Guides on 14 construction safety topics. There are also 14 matching Checklists on related Cal/OSHA regulations. For some topics, Case Studies (based on actual injuries and accidents) and Factsheets are also provided. Both the English and Spanish editions of Tailgate Training for California Construction Workers are available for sale through our catalog. See the full description of the Tailgate Training in the LOHP Publications section. The Training Guides, Checklists, and Case Studies can also be read online in either language.


Since 2000, LOHP and the SBCTC have created several “train the trainer” courses on construction safety which have been translated into Spanish. These include the prevention of ergonomic injuries, noise hazards,the leading causes of construction fatalities (focus four), and fall prevention. The SBCTC and LOHP train labor, management representatives and apprenticeship instructors, who conduct classes for workers. These curricula are available at the SBCTC Safety Hub.


Nazima El-Askari