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October 30, 2023
Safety groups honor Port of Portland's prevention efforts

The Port of Portland received the third annual Prevention through Design (PtD) Award at the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Safety Congress & Expo in New Orleans, the NSC announced October 23. The Port of Portland, which operates Portland International Airport, was recognized for an integrated safety design process used during the airport’s Parking and Rental Car Center project, the $325 million construction of five facilities­.

The PtD award is presented through a collaboration among the NSC, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The Port of Portland was nominated for following PtD methods in its safety design process, which incorporated the hierarchy of controls to reduce inherent risks at multiple stages of the facility life cycle, including construction, operations, and maintenance. The project team included the Port of Portland, general contractor JE Dunn, and design contractor YGH.

“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,” NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, said in a statement. “The annual PtD award seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of ‘designing out’ workplace hazards, and congratulates the Port of Portland, and all the nominees, in creatively furthering these safety measures.”

A key element of the project’s success was that PtD requirements were placed in contract specifications, according to NIOSH, that included the required use of the PtD pilot credit for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

“With their inventiveness, dedication and tenacity, all in the name of safety, there can be no doubt that the Port of Portland has earned this award,” Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the NSC, said in a statement. “Their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of their employees as well as the generation that will follow them is inspiring.”

Another aspect that contributed to the port’s PtD efforts was the inclusion of a multidisciplinary team and the practice of meeting at least monthly—intended to achieve team buy-in.
The port contacted NIOSH years ago, according to the institute, before the existence of a PtD award to discuss its desire to implement PtD methods. For the benefit of workers in the wider industry, the port team has shared their experience in construction industry conferences, provided consultation to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and continued to collaborate with other PtD researchers and experts, according to NIOSH.

Instructions for nominations for the fourth annual PtD Award in 2024 are now available on the PtD award website. Nominations are due the first weekday of April. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has announced the group will join the ASSP, NIOSH, and the NSC’s partnership for the fourth annual PtD Award.

NIOSH is the federal institute created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The ASSP is an association of occupational safety and health professionals, and the NSC is a nonprofit focused on eliminating causes of preventable death and injury in homes, in the workplace, and on roadways.

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