Could LEED certification of new buildings cause increased injury rates for construction workers? Matthew Hallowell, an assistant professor in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, thinks so. A recent set of articles authored by Hallowell and several co-authors published or in review by the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management analyzed LEED credits and conducted field research on the hazards related to constructing buildings that will be registered under the LEED system. The articles found that twelve LEED credits contribute to increased hazards for construction workers. According to the author's research, these hazards for construction workers include:
- A 24% increase in injuries resulting from slips and falls while installing heavy solar panels on roofs painted white in order to reflect sunlight;
- A 36% increase in cuts and abrasions when entering recycling dumpsters to retrieve improperly discarded materials;
- An increase in falls when green roofs are installed by landscaping contractors not accustomed to working at height; and
- An increase in falls when workers spend increased time at height installing sky lights to provide day lighting or performing time-intensive wiring for lighting sensors.