Prevention through Design (PtD) addresses occupational safety and health needs in the design and redesign processes to prevent or minimize the work-related hazards and risks associated with the construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and disposal of facilities, materials, equipment, and the service sector. One of the goals is to educate designers, engineers, machinery and equipment manufacturers, environmental, health and safety (EHS) professionals, business leaders, and workers to understand and implement PtD methods and apply this knowledge and skills to the design and re-design of new and existing facilities, processes, equipment, tools, and organization of work.

One of the many challenges EHS professionals are facing is developing skills to convince management to maximize the effectiveness of the safety program and consequently increase productivity. EHS professionals have to help management transform safety into an accepted business value for the organization. In order to be successful, the EHS students and professionals have to learn to use the PtD principles and incorporate them into standard business practices. A major hurdle to the adoption of PtD is the perception that the PtD cost/benefit ratio is unfavorable. EHS professionals should recognize business cost drivers and justify PtD design expenditures in the early product development stage. Therefore, the authors developed a PtD model that incorporates risk assessment, hierarchy of controls, productivity, financial analysis and future state projections. To demonstrate the applicability of the model; the authors selected a case study that was suitable for practical demonstration and for use as an educational module. A Value-added project for refuse trucks improvements is presented. In the model PtD principles were combined with risk assessment tools, productivity evaluation and sustainability. This case study demonstrates how EHS professionals can play a significant role in the development of new business plans and implementation of Lean Six Sigma practices, designed to minimize injuries and improve productivity.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.