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Design: methods for implementing PtD.

Renshaw FM
Prof Saf 2013 Mar; 58(3):50-55
Prevention through design (PTD) is grounded in the belief that designing out hazards is the most effective means to prevent occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities. NIOSH-sponsored research has produced a model to guide organizations in implementing these methods. This article shares those elements. The first element includes PTD language for SH&E policies and management system standards. The second element provides strategic guidance for integrating PTD into capital project and management of change (MOC) work processes. The third element encompasses tactical guidance in applying hazard analysis and risk assessment tools. Design checklists and an industry case study are discussed as examples of translating safe practices into safe designs. The SH&E professional's role and importance in implementing PTD are reviewed as well. PTD is a concept grounded in the belief that designing out hazards is the most effective means of preventing occupational injuries, illnesses, fatalities and exposures (NIOSH, 2010). While the concept is familiar to safety professionals, incorporating prevention considerations into new designs and redesign projects on a systematic basis can be daunting. NIOSH addressed this challenge in 2007 by launching a national initiative (Schulte, Rinehart, Okun, et al., 2008) designed to raise awareness of the need to prevent or reduce work-related injuries, illnesses, fatalities and exposures by including prevention considerations in all designs that affect individuals in an occupational environment. NIOSH expects to accomplish this mission by helping employers apply hazard elimination and risk control methods in the design and redesign of work facilities, processes, equipment, tools, work methods and work organization. NIOSH (2010) published a detailed plan in 2010 to implement its initiative with defined goals and activities in five major areas: research, education, practice, policy and small business. This article highlights findings from recent research that led to development of a model PTD program (Renshaw, 2011). The model provides PTD language for use in amending policies and standards as well as strategic and tactical guidance to help organizations incorporate PTD methods into their design and redesign process (see "PTD Methods" sidebar). The model program is designed to support the development of a PTD culture and can be a stand-alone standard or can be integrated within an organization's safety management system. Guidance addresses three key elements associated with program implementation: 1) setting policy and standards; 2) establishing work processes and procedures; and 3) applying tools and practices.
Workers; Work-environment; Worker-health; Humans; Men; Women; Preventive-medicine; Hazards; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-education; Models
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Contract-214-2010-M-34686; B20130321
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Manufacturing
Source Name
Professional Safety
Page last reviewed: April 29, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division