The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a new Prevention through Design paper on Preventing Falls through the Design of Roof Parapets (PDF*). The paper details the fall hazards to workers during the design stages of building construction. NIOSH recommends that parapets, or wall extensions, which act as barriers at a roof's edge, be used to reduce the risk of falls during the preliminary stages of construction work. The institute also recommends that parapets meet the OSHA height requirements for guardrails and reminds employers to consider the cost-savings advantage of constructing parapets for the design phase.
NIOSH's Prevention through Design initiative promotes the concept of "designing out" or addressing and minimizing occupational hazards and risks early in the design process. An increasing number of businesses recognize the importance of adopting PtD as a cost-effective means to enhance the safety and health of their employees.