Learn More About the Prevention Through Design Pilot Credit for Green Buildings

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According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED-certified buildings in the U.S. have 34% lower CO2 emissions, consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills. Those are great outcomes for the environment and reflect the growing interest in sustainability. 

To build on this interest, NIOSH’s Office of Construction Safety and Health collaborated with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to develop a Prevention through Design (PTD) Pilot CreditThe intent of the credit is to support high-performance cost-effective employee safety and health outcomes across the building life-cycle through early attention to safety and health hazards.

The groups have posted a new webinar, LEED Pilot Credit Prevention Through Design (PTD) Background and Requirements, to explain key concepts and provide step-by-step guidance and strategies for achieving the credit. "This additional detail is important in helping architects and designers understand how to accomplish safety and health in designing buildings," says Christine Branche, director of NIOSH's Office of Construction Safety and Health. 

The pilot credit addresses two building life cycle phases important for safety and health: 1) operations and maintenance (O&M) and 2) construction. In the O&M phase, the focus is on permanent building features. The pilot credit describes a cross-disciplinary safety design review that might lead to, for example, decisions to reduce fall hazards by installing a parapet or guard rail on a roof, or by specifying non-fragile skylights.

For the construction phase, the pilot credit describes a cross-disciplinary safety constructability review tht might lead to, for example, a decision to use steel columns that arrive on site with pre-drilled holes for fall protection anchors, or a decision to prefabricate components at ground-level to minimize falls from working at height.

In 2015, the groups hosted Life Cycle Safety: Basics and Connections to Sustainability, a webinar that explored the links between OSH, social equity and sustainable development, and aimed to help contractors identify resources for addressing safety in design of green buildings.

NIOSH is asking the OSH community to help spread the word about the pilot credit. "This represents an important opportunity for the entire safety and health community to gain traction for PTD and for safety and health in green rating systems," the agency says. "Safety and health professionals should consider getting more involved with designing and planning of facilities. Please try the PTD Pilot Credit and help us improve approaches for integrating safety and health into the design of buildings."

Read more about the credit on the NIOSH Science Blog.


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