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LTU's Construction Safety Research Center investigating causes of non-compliance with PPE among construction workers

Release Date: May 11, 2022

A focus group of Lawrence Technological University's Construction Safety Research Center at work in the LTU Engineering Building.
LTU photo

SOUTHFIELD—The construction industry in the United States represents 4.1 percent of the workforce, yet accounted for 21.2 percent of U.S. on-the-job fatalities in 2020.

Frequently, according to the Construction Safety Research Center at Lawrence Technological University, the culprit is inappropriate utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE), or failure to use PPE at all.

As its first formal research project, early this year, the CSRC conducted a research project to reveal the causes of PPE non-compliance. The first step of the research was a national expert survey to identify and rank potential factors. This step identified 16 factors that contribute to PPE compliance. Top among them: inadequate supervision and lack of weather adaptation.

The CSRC also conducted a focus group study with construction firms in Michigan to validate the survey findings and propose recommendations to overcome them. A white paper based on this research is planned for release by September.

The CSRC’s founding director, Ahmed Al-Bayati, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering at LTU, thanked the individuals and firms who have participated in the study:

  • Brian Carson, Safety Director at the Roofing Contractors Safety Alliance,
  • Dale Ave-Lallemant, Safety Director at Clark Construction Co.,
  • Greg McKinney Jr., Safety Director at Davis Construction Inc.,
  • Jim Spaulding, Safety Director at Dee Cramer,
  • Joe Wallington, Project Safety Manager at Christman,
  • Mary Shepherd, Environmental and Safety Services Supervisor at the Department of Public Works, City of Sterling Heights,
  • Mike Miller, field superintendent at Dee Cramer, and
  • Tanisha Johnson, Safety Manager at O’Brien Construction

The Construction Safety Research Center is a membership-driven collaboration of companies, municipalities, associations, and agencies that aims to reduce work-related fatalities and injuries by providing innovative safety practices derived from groundbreaking research. The CSRC has a process that helps industry leaders contribute to better safety performance so they can transfer their knowledge and extensive experience into products that save lives and improve overall industry performance. The CSRC exists through the outstanding safety commitment and generous support of the center’s founding members:

  • Bouma Corporation, a Grand Rapids construction contractor
  • Carhartt, Inc., a Dearborn-based maker of work apparel
  • DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest utility
  • RBV Contracting, Inc., a Detroit construction firm
  • The City of Kalamazoo
  • The City of Southfield

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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