Examples of the prevention through design (PTD) concept exist in practice in all industrial sectors, including the construction, manufacturing, healthcare and service industries. Process and design solutions have been developed and implemented to reduce or eliminate risks to occupational safety and health (OSH). Awareness is building that engaging with designers as part of OSH management is an effective practice for reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities (Manuele, 1997).
Effective diffusion and implementation of the PTD concept call for detailed understanding of the principles and practices of both design and OSH. PTD also requires that architects, engineers and designers know the processes, jobs and work conditions associated with their de-signs and that they understand the associated risks. Engaging those who construct, manufacture, use and maintain their designs also is important. PTD is genuinely a collaborative process that encompasses multiple areas of expertise and stakeholders.
While PTD is a recognized and established practice attribute in some industrial sectors, the complexities and barriers associated with its implementation have inhibited its diffusion in other sectors. A lack of OSH knowledge among design professionals, fear of liability for injuries, a lack of available design tools, insufficient funding and time for design, and lack of methods to engage workers and OSH professionals in the design limit PTD implementation (Brown-Williams, Lichterman, Quinn, et al., 2010; Gambatese, Behm & Hinze, 2005; Hecker, Gambatese & Weinstein, 2005; Quinn, Fuller, Bello, et al., 2006; Quinn, Pentecost, Fisher, et al., 2009; Toole, 2002, 2004).