Prevention through Design (PtD) Award

Join us for the 2023 Prevention through Design (PtD) Award Ceremony
Announcement Icon

In October 2023 the National Safety Council will host the Prevention through Design (PtD) Award ceremony in person at the 2023 NSC Congress & Expo in New Orleans. We encourage all to attend this key industry conference, although attendance is not required to receive the PtD award.

Please check this page periodically for more details and updates.

The NIOSH PtD annual award recognizes individuals, teams, businesses, and other organizations that have eliminated or reduced hazards through design or re-design efforts or have contributed to the body of knowledge that enables PtD solutions. NIOSH presents the award in partnership with the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the National Safety Council (NSC).

For 2023 and beyond, more than one award may be given each year, depending on the type of nominations received (individual vs. organizational, research vs. practice, etc.). Also, nominations must benefit workers in the United States, especially nominations showing examples of PtD being used in a workplace.

PtD involves both a priority and a process. All nominations will be considered from, or for, individuals, teams, businesses, or other organizations who have developed workplace interventions or research in harmony with the priority or the process of PtD. Nominations should relate to work with recent or continuing impact. Smart and innovative physical designs are very important, but so is an effective design safety review process that finds solutions using the combined experience and expertise of all involved disciplines.

PtD Priorities: Ideally, PtD efforts would avoid or eliminate hazards completely – with priority given to the top of the Hierarchy of Controls. Such solutions avoid the “must trust” factor that depends on the actions of workers, operators, and maintainers to ensure protection. Complete hazard elimination, however, is not always possible. For example, if an earnest team’s review of a process or design does not completely eliminate hazards, but the review results in protecting workers through a careful combination of controls at different levels of the hierarchy, this too could be considered PtD.

PtD Process: PtD doesn’t need to depend on one person but can be a process followed by a multidisciplinary team that meets to conduct design safety reviews. For example, better solutions often result when management and designers learn and gain expertise from experienced operators and maintainers, and safety and health professionals. Such a team meets to identify hazards, assess risks, develop alternatives, and recommend better solutions. The ASSP/ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z590.3 PtD standard provides helpful tools for this process.

When are nominations due?

Nominations are due the first weekday in April. The NIOSH PtD program office will send a confirmation email from when we receive a nomination – (the subject line will include “PtD Award”).

How do I submit a nomination?

Submit nominations by email to with the subject line including “PtD Award Nomination”. When preparing your nomination, answer the questions applicable to your situation in plain language and submit as a PDF document along with any other supporting materials you think are needed to help us understand the design. Email size is limited to 30 megabytes, including attachments. The award committee will contact the submitter for further clarification during the review process, if needed.

What do I include in the nomination?

On the first page of your nomination, please answer the following:

  1. Do you verify that your nomination does NOT include trade secret or proprietary information?
  2. Do the award partners (NIOSH, NSC, ASSP) have your permission to summarize and publish your nomination as a positive example of PtD?

We welcome flexibility and creativity in your nomination packages, but keep these items in mind:

  1. Ensure you clearly relate how your Prevention through Design efforts benefit or improve worker safety, health, and/or well-being.
  2. A well-organized package will improve clarity and likely influence the overall rating of a nomination.


We suggest you address questions such as the following, as applicable to your nomination:

Hazard, Design, and Hierarchy of Controls

  • What problem were you solving?
  • What is the improved design or process and how does it work?
  • How did you modify a current process?
  • How did you evaluate your new solution(s)?
  • What health and safety benefits have been realized or are expected?
  • In what ways does your solution, or mix of solutions, move hazard controls further up the Hierarchy of Controls?
  • At any level of the Hierarchy of Controls, how have you made hazard controls more automatic or passive to reduce or eliminate any active involvement needed to provide protection?

Design Safety Review Process

  • What obstacles or hindrances did you overcome?
  • What did you do to implement the new solution(s), including gaining “buy-in” by managers and user-operators to overcome any resistance to the new solution(s)?
  • How did you collaborate among key workers, maintainers, designers, managers, safety and health representatives, or others to benefit from the experience, expertise, and lessons learned from their different disciplines?
  • Did you use the ANSI/ASSP Z590.3 PtD standard or similar process?
  • How did you identify hazards, assess risk, assess alternatives, and decide on solutions?

Business Case Considerations

  • In what ways are financial benefits realized from this PtD effort?
    • For example: reductions in lost work days; decreased workers’ compensation costs; lowered medical costs; increased productivity; lawsuit avoidance; regulatory fine avoidance; PPE cost reductions; training cost reductions; equipment cost reductions; facility modification/retrofit reductions; effects on demand and sales; initial versus ongoing or long-term costs.
  • In what ways are NON-financial benefits realized from this PtD effort?
    • For example: worker health and safety; worker participation, contribution, impact, satisfaction, and morale; social responsibility; community reputation; reputation with customers; product/service quality; liability reduction; environmental stewardship; industry reputation; and competitive edge.

How are PtD winners notified?

The PtD program office will notify the winner no later than September of the submission year, and will provide a written notice of their commendation to cite in their own public announcements. The winner will receive an award certificate in an award ceremony and will have news of their winning efforts announced by the award partners: NIOSH, ASSP, and NSC.


For further questions, please email us at or call 513-533-8317.

Previous Award Winners

a graphic with a picture of a smiling man and a major award. Text reads: 2022 prevention through design Award Recipient, Dr. Georgi Popov. The PtD award is a collaborative effort of NIOSH, ASSP, and NSC

2022 Awardee: Dr.Georgi Popov, PhD, QEP, CSP, ARM, SMS, CMC, FAIHA

On October 11, 2022, longtime occupational safety and health expert, Dr. Georgi Popov received the Prevention through Design (PtD) Award for his research, teaching, writing, industry consulting and design, and the creation of a practical model to help make the Business Case for Prevention through Design interventions. Read the full NIOSH Update.


2022 Honorable Mention Nominations (alphabetical, individuals first):

Mr. Bruce Main was nominated for his research, consulting, authoring of over 40 manuscripts, risk assessment software, his training of well over a thousand designers and other professionals in PtD and risk assessment, and his safety systems designs (including two patents). Mr. Main was a founding member of the National Safety Council’s Institute for Safety Through Design (ISTD), served as the Vice Chair of the original ANSI/ASSP Z590.3 Prevention through Design standard committee, and now chairs the ANSI B11.0 Safety of Machinery standards committee.

Jacobs Engineering (TX, United Kingdom (U.K.)) was nominated for their “FIVE in Design” process used to apply PtD principles in the design and construction of facilities. In addition to manuals and training for their own designers, Jacobs has a social media campaign to influence the entire construction industry toward design safety.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Engineering Design & Construction (NY) has developed an extensive PtD process over many years for the largest municipal water and wastewater utility in the United States. They started with lessons learned from inspections, leading to design training, design guides and checklists, and design review processes.

Park Health & Safety Partnership LLP (U.K.) has incorporated PtD principles in an extensive series of best practice facility design templates for the design and construction industry. These are available to any firm wanting to begin or improve PtD design safety and health processes.

The Port of Portland (OR) successfully used PtD methods, including the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED PtD pilot credit, for a new $325 million dollar facility. Collaborating with general contractor JE Dunn and Design Contractor YGH, their integrated design-safety process applied the Hierarchy of Controls to the facility life cycle of construction, operations, and maintenance. Costs of PtD methods were reported to either be minimal, or an actual cost savings. In one case, a substantial savings on manhours and equipment was realized by building components on the ground and then lifting them into place. This is a PtD method that also reduces fall hazards and ergonomic risks.

Tesla Inc. (TX) studied ergonomic hazards and collaborated with workers to design a passenger car with an innovative “Supertub” modular underbody that allows their production associates to stand erect while constructing much of the vehicle interior. The design resulted in a 95% reduction in recordable and first aid cases, and contributed to reduced equipment costs, improved quality, and improved morale.

UrbanE Recycling, Inc. (FL) used the PtD methods of risk assessment and alternatives assessment to improve vehicle driver safety. Collaborating with employees, they designed an individual training and performance award system using data-driven scoring from GPS and camera data. UrbanE Recycling was careful to avoid negative peer-pressure that can result from subjective, team-based incentive programs. More than a year of data shows a four-fold reduction in distracted driving and excessive speed.

Prevention through Design (PtD) Award

2021 Awardee: Fred A. Manuele, PE, CSP

On July 14, 2021, longtime occupational safety and health expert, Fred A. Manuele, PE, CSP, received the inaugural Prevention through Design (PtD) Award for his outstanding foresight, wisdom, tireless effort, and major accomplishments in preventing harm to workers by helping organizations avoid and prevent hazards. Read the full NIOSH Update.