What is good for the environment is not automatically safer for workers, but it should be possible to make choices to that are both “greener” and “safer”.
This guide aims to help you to be “greener and safer” by planning ahead – prevention through design by making good choices of materials. Sometimes choices are interconnected and may have multiple benefits. USCDC/NIOSH has piloted a program, in collaboration with OSHA, AIHA, and many others, called “prevention through design” (PtD). The concept of PtD can be defined as: Addressing occupational safety and health needs in the design process to prevent or minimize the work-related hazards and risks associated with the construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and disposal of facilities, materials, and equipment. Eliminating hazards through planning, organization, and engineering as we take our knowledge about old and new hazards and examine the challenges created by new technologies and adaptations of work activities to perform green jobs. This approach aims to eliminate hazards and control risks “at the source” or as early as possible in the life cycle of items or workplaces. (USCDC/NIOSH)
The products discussed below represent some potential choices for interior materials for buildings undergoing construction or renovation with consideration given for the safety and health of the workers using/installing the product and for the workers maintaining the product after installation, as well as for the workers occupying the building (such as indoor air quality concerns.)