Construction Program

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Construction Program works with partners in industry, labor, trade associations, academia, professional organizations, and other government organizations. The program focuses on construction worker safety and health in these areas:

  • Preventing injuries and fatalities related to falls and struck-by incidents
  • Addressing adverse health outcomes associated with mental health and substance use disorders
  • Reducing hazardous exposures including to respiratory hazards and excessive noise
  • Reducing injuries and musculoskeletal disorders by greater use of emerging technologies
What do we do?

Raise awareness of evidence-based ways to prevent fatalities in the construction industry:

  • Promote, plan and evaluate the NIOSH research-based national initiatives to address falls and struck-by incidents, leading work-related causes of construction worker deaths, in collaboration with the NIOSH-funded Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Develop fall prevention, struck-by and other Focus Four Hazard  tools, educational
  • materials, trainings, and other resources and disseminate through various channels, like web and social media.
  • Provide information, tools, and resources to advance hearing loss prevention efforts and to address other topics such as substance use disorders, suicides, and workplace stress in construction.
  • Increase availability and use of silica controls.
  • Increase the availability and use of effective interventions in the construction industry.
What have we accomplished?
  • Developed infographics and related materials that address various aspects of construction safety and health including extreme heat, falls, trench safety, struck-by incidents, and mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Published NIOSH Science blogs on excavator struck-by fatalities, Prevention through Design, exoskeletons and musculoskeletal disorders, the opioid epidemic, and heat stress. Two NIOSH science blogs about the opioid epidemic were further disseminated in an online magazine by an investigative news organization called Mother Jones.
  • Oversaw the work of three partner workgroups addressing falls, struck-by incidents, and COVID-19. Each workgroup developed significant new products and materials related to construction hazards of interest, such as an infographic on extreme heat and construction falls and a toolbox talk on challenges preventing falling objects.
What’s next?
  • Conduct research and develop communication products targeting key construction stakeholder groups to prevent ongoing safety and health hazards as well as emerging hazards in construction.
    • Work with partners to maintain worker health and safety during the national infrastructure buildout which includes a $550 billion investment for construction projects.
  • Develop and support research to address important emerging construction topics including:
    • Use of robotics, exoskeletons, drones, and other emerging technologies.
    • Improving healthy work design interventions to advance the well-being of construction workers, including attention to substance use disorders mental health concerns and suicide prevention.
    • Effects of a changing climate, including hazards related to excessive heat and dangerous winds.
    • Issues related to worker impairment, for example from excessive fatigue or substance use.
  • Publish a series of toolbox talks on longstanding safety and health topics including various aspects of struck- by incident prevention.

Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The NIOSH Construction Program aims to eliminate work-related injuries, diseases, and fatalities among construction workers. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming work.

Number of fatalities from falls in construction (all employment), 2006-2020
Number of fatalities from falls in construction all employment, 2006-2020

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1992-2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Numbers are from the online Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) database.

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July 2022

Page last reviewed: July 1, 2021