EHS Administration

NIOSH, Partners Give Prevention Through Design Award

Dr. Georgi Popov was presented with the second annual Prevention through Design (PtD) Award in a virtual ceremony for his outstanding leadership in reducing workplace hazards through design methods, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and National Safety Council (NSC), announced October 11.

Popov is a professor in the University of Central Missouri’s Safety Sciences Program and serves as its interim chair. He also serves as a consultant and has worked in the application and instruction of PtD concepts, occupational risk assessments, and risk management. He has researched and spoken about PtD and risk management.

“One of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to ‘design out’ or minimize hazards and risk early on in the life cycle of workplace tools, equipment, processes, and organization,” NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, said in a NIOSH statement. “In honoring all the nominees today and recognizing Dr. Popov’s years of contribution to the field, NIOSH hopes to further raise awareness of how useful these prevention methods can be.”

Popov has served as the chair of the ANSI/ASSP Z590.3 PtD committee since 2019. The ANSI/ASSP PtD standard was revised and published in August 2021. According to ASSP, the standard is intended to help safety professionals and their employers incorporate PtD concepts into decisions about the design and redesign of workplace equipment, machinery, premises, substances, and tools, as well as work processes.

“Dr. Popov’s passion for communicating the value of PtD and the business case model he developed is evident in the thousands of occupational safety and health professionals and students who have learned from him,” ASSP Senior Vice President Pam Walaski said in a statement.

Popov also serves on international and local technical committees and teams, according to the NSC. That work has addressed gaps and developed guidance for safety practitioners on risk management methods and their application, making sure to illustrate the financial and nonfinancial benefits of the application of PtD. 

“Few people have done more for the prevention through design field than Dr. Popov,” Paul Vincent, executive vice president of workplace practice at the NSC, said in a statement. “His decades of writing, researching, consulting, and teaching helped instill the importance of design into the next generation of safety professionals. That type of ongoing contribution to safety is invaluable.”

In his teaching capacity, Popov has developed training modules and course materials, according to the NSC, and continues to provide both in-person and virtual sessions to students worldwide. He has authored articles and books on PtD and serves as a technical reviewer for other authors. Popov frequently speaks at regional, national, and international conferences promoting safety standards.

The annual PtD award recognizes individuals, teams, businesses, and other organizations that have eliminated or reduced hazards through design or redesign efforts or have contributed to the body of knowledge that enables PtD solutions. ASSP, NIOSH, and the NSC plan to give more than one award each year, beginning in 2023, depending on the types of nominations received, such as individual and organizational or research and practice.