Prevention Through Design Safety on the drawing board.
ambience: mine conveyor belt and construction site
Engineers dream up and design things, all sorts of things. Now a new field called Prevention Through Design is encouraging engineers to include safety in every new product or procedure. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Deborah Young-Corbett is with the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.
Young-Corbett: It could be that we’re designing equipment, tools, materials, so that we could use a material that’s less risky. Or we might be 1106 preventing worker exposure to health hazards or safety hazards.
I’ll give you some examples: In mining engineering, there is a problem in underground coal mining of excessive noise exposure. Usually there is a conveyor system that transports the coal product through the mining system. Anyone who’s in those tunnels is exposed to a lot of noise through that conveyor system. A Prevention Through Design solution for that was to coat the metal conveyors rollers with a polyurethane plastic to make it a quieter conveyor system. And that actually reduced the noise level to a safe level.
A common safety hazard in residential construction is falling off roofs while the roof is being constructed. There usually is not a good way for workers in residential construction to tie to the structure to prevent falling. A Prevention Through Design solution was developed where the roof was constructed on the ground, and then lifted onto the structure with a crane. This reduced or eliminated the risk of falling from height. And then also, it was discovered it was a much more efficient way of constructing the roof.
We’ll hear more about Prevention Through Design in Future Programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.