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NIOSH Program Portfolio


Prevention through Design

NIOSH Prevention through Design Sector Strategic Goals

927ZAZA - Benchmarking Management Practices related to PtD in the U.S.

Start Date: 1/1/2007
End Date: 12/1/2010

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Elyce Biddle
Phone: (304) 285-5894
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: Division of Safety Research
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goals Addressed
1.1.1 , 1.1.12 , 3.7.5

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Prevention through Design

Project Description

Short Summary

Many Fortune 500 companies openly purport Prevention through Design concepts and have developed management practices to implement them. This project identifies management practices related to Prevention through Design in Fortune 500 companies in the United States. The findings from this project will be disseminated broadly outside and within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


An abundance of literature has stated that investment in occupational safety, health, and environment is a sound business strategy, which can have a positive impact on an organization's bottom line. Similarly, literature has indicated that integrating safety, health and environmental considerations into the design and development of systems meant for human use prevents loss of life and minimizes destruction of health and property (NSC, 2007). However, little research has been conducted to determine the extent to which company policies stipulate that safety, health and environmental concerns are designed and built-in, rather than added after the job/product has been put into operation. Nor is there information regarding the extent to which the PtD policy or practice extends to the design, redesign and retrofit of new and existing work premises, structures, tools, facilities, equipment, machinery, products, substances, work processes and the organization of work. This project attempts to garner this information.

This project will utilize data collected by ORC Worldwide through a survey instrument via the internet to their member organizations. For 30 years, ORC's Occupational Safety and Health Group has been a unique, ongoing network of key health and safety leaders from major, multinational corporations in a wide variety of industries. Its focus is to promote effective occupational safety, health, and environmental programs and practices and to facilitate constructive communication between business and government agencies responsible for establishing national occupational safety, health, and environmental policy. Approximately 150 organizations have joined the ORC's Occupational Safety and Health Group.


Objective is to determine the level of adoption of PtD concepts among a subset of Fortune 500 companies in the US through a survey conducted by ORC Worldwide. Specific aims include:

  • Identify existing PtD practices in corporate procurement policies and procedures.

  • Identify existing PtD practices in corporate manufacturing and work processes.

  • Identify the level of leadership commitment to PtD among safety conscious corporations.

  • Determine if implementing PtD concepts is associated with the company's occupational injury and illness experience.

Mission Relevance

Results from this research will be presented to the participating ORC members. Case studies will be developed from those firms with "stories" of PtD implementation and success, which will be placed on the NIOSH website. The research findings will also be disseminated through presentations at industry conferences and the submittal of papers to academic journals and industry periodicals. The findings will also be incorporated into the thinking behind the addition of PtD principles and its rationalization to engineering textbooks, the evaluation and diffusion strategies of under-utilized engineering controls, and the justification for adding PtD into management systems and consensus standards.

Page last updated:June 25, 2009
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director


NIOSH Program:

Prevention through Design