The U.S. construction industry accounts for almost one quarter of all traumatic occupational fatalities, more than any other industry.  Many of the new employees that begin in the construction labor force will have participated in post-secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs yet little is known about the quality of the health and safety instruction students in these programs receive and how well  prepared they are to deal with the hazards in the industry.  A new study by researchers at West Virginia University and the University of California, Berkley hopes to answer these questions.

Using a mixed-methods approach involving focus groups and national surveys of program administrators and instructors as well student assessments, the researcher team will explore what constitutes effective health and safety education in post-secondary CTE construction programs.  The findings will be used to recommend necessary improvements to the safety education offered students in post-secondary CTE programs to help reduce injury in the young construction workforce.

The Co-PIs of this project are Dr. Kimberly Rauscher, ScD, MA, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, West Virginia University and Diane Bush, MPH, Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkley. Also on the study team from WVU is Dr. Douglas Myers, ScD, MA, Department of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences, West Virginia University.  

Funding for this 3-year project, in the amount of $600,000, is provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and is one of several sub-projects within the National Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The project period runs from  September 2014 through August 2017.