LEED Floats Credit for Worker Safety


The health and safety of a building's construction, operation and maintenance crews are at the heart of a new LEED credit being piloted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The credit aims to encourage early consideration of occupational safety and health issues throughout a building’s life cycle.

Project teams, including architects and builders, can qualify for the “Prevention through Design” pilot credit by integrating design strategies that address safety.

The credit is listed in the pilot library, a program in which new building technologies and concepts are tested and evaluated for possible inclusion in the widely used green-building rating system. 

Assessing Safety

Construction, operation and maintenance worker safety are addressed in the proposed credit.

During construction, improving worker safety includes assessment of construction activity pollution and indoor air quality, according to the credit description.

solar panel
Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

The credit considers construction and maintenance safety factors such as the distance between a solar panel installation and the roof's edge.

Considerations for safe roof system operation, inspection and maintenance include:

  • How personnel will gain access to the roof;
  • The distance between equipment, the roof's edge and features such as cool roofs, vegetated roofs and solar panel installations; and
  • The need for fall protection measures, such as guardrails.

For building enclosure systems, considerations include how personnel will clean exterior cladding, windows, shading devices, skylights and interior atrium features.

Project teams are encouraged to provide feedback on the credit.

NIOSH Effort

The pilot credit grew out of a partnership between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the USGBC to discover connections between occupational safety and health and sustainable building practices.

NIOSH’s Prevention through Design initiative seeks to prevent or reduce occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities by including prevention considerations into designs that affect workers.

According to NIOSH, most rating systems for building environmental, energy and/or sustainability quality address some aspects of occupational health, but they are limited and do not specifically address safety.


Tagged categories: Architects; Certifications and standards; Design; Good Technical Practice; Green building; Health and safety; LEED; North America; Workers

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