Perry Appointed to Technical Advisory Board of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

EOH Professor and Chair Melissa Perry was named a member of the Technical Advisory Board for CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, a nonprofit research and training organization with the mission of advancing the quality of working conditions in the construction industry and the quality of life for construction workers. “I believe in the importance of CPWR’s mission to advance safety and health protections for workers, and I am delighted to help further that mission by serving on the Technical Advisory Board,” Dr. Perry says. 

The Technical Advisory Board advises CPWR on the scientific and technical merits of its policies, strategies, objectives and priorities. Dr. Perry’s occupational public health research at construction sites has included developing engineering and behavioral interventions to address risks that her work has identified, including construction workers’ risk of falling on the job.

“Hundreds of construction workers are killed on the job each year in the United States, and many of these deaths are from falls,” Dr. Perry says. She recently received funding from CPWR to develop a tool to assess fall hazards and fall-prevention practices among five groups of skilled trade workers who are at risk of falls: electricians, ironworkers, painters, carpenters and roofers.

To produce the tool, known as the George Washington Audit of Fall Risks (GAFR), Dr. Perry collaborated with safety experts and built on existing tools for auditing fall safety, as well as elements of fall-safety standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Postdoctoral scientist Seung-Sup Kim, who is now a member of the faculty at Korea University, and MPH candidate Amanda McQueen were also involved in the tool’s creation. 

The GW research group used the GAFR tool to assess fall safety practices during the recent construction of Milken Institute School of Public Health’s new building, which opened in May. CPWR funded the creation of a brochure to describe the findings of the project, which focused on equipment used by workers (ladders, scaffolding, aerial lifts, and roof sheathing) as well as the use of site-specific fall prevention equipment such as  guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrests (e.g., safety harnesses). The brochure will soon be available on the CPWR website.