The Port of Portland in Portland, Oregon received the third annual Prevention through Design (PtD) Award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
NIOSH, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the National Safety Council (NSC) held a ceremony Oct. 23, 2023 at the NSC Safety Congress & Expo to present the award to the Port of Portland for its efforts on a project at the Portland International Airport.
The PtD award highlights an organization’s real world success at “designing out” hazards, which according to the hierarchy of controls, is the most effective way to protect workers.
PtD methods used in the construction of a large parking and rental car center project is what earned the Port of Portland the nomination. This project involved a $325 million construction of five facilities.
Team used ‘integrated design-safety process’ on project
Success with PtD methods on smaller projects led the Port of Portland team to include those methods on this larger project. The team also included general contractor JE Dunn and design contractor YGH.
They used “an integrated design-safety process including the hierarchy of controls to reduce inherent risks at multiple stages of the facility life cycle, including construction, operations, and maintenance.”
The design “took into account a smooth transition between constructing the parking facility and occupant use” with one key element of the project success being “that PtD requirements were placed in contract specifications.”
Inclusion of a multidisciplinary team and its practice of meeting at least monthly was listed as another key practice to the team’s success at incorporating PtD into the project. For example, the meetings helped the team come up with creative solutions to avoid the use of ladders.
‘Designing out hazards most effective way to prevent injuries’
“Anticipating and ‘designing out’ hazards in tools, equipment, processes, materials, structures, and the organization of work is the most effective way to prevent occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities,” said NIOSH Director John Howard.
The Port of Portland has since shared its experience with the construction industry and provided consultation to Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh International Airport in its PtD efforts.