From Construction Safety Day to National Safety Month, Spring offers a range of safety initiatives for individuals and companies to incorporate and adapt. One of the leading opportunities to spread the safety word is OSHA’s annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Workplace Falls, held May 4-8 this year.
This year’s National Safety Stand-Down will mark its 7th anniversary. The initiative was conceived by OSHA in 2014 to raise awareness surrounding the severity of fall hazards in construction and the importance of preventing them. The term “safety stand-down” is used to describe a wide variety of activities where normal work is paused and the entire construction site focuses on a particular safety issue.
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees.
- 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities in 2018 were from falls
- 3,435 stand-downs were conducted in the U.S. last year
- 457,251 workers were reached from stand-downs
Contractors, workers and the entire construction industry can help prevent falls and save lives by planning correctly, providing the right equipment and offering training.
There are a number of ways to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Workplace Falls, including:
- Toolbox talks to discuss and develop rescue plans or conduct equipment inspections
- Give workers free hard hat stickers
- E-mail staff information about the campaign and share the link to www.stopconstructionfalls.com
- Provide training
For more ideas, The Center for Construction Research and Training, OSHA and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have a variety of resources to help employers decide what will work best for their sites.
If a fall does occur on the jobsite, the following should occur:
- Determine the cause of the fall,
- Inspect and remove faulty personal fall arrest systems or equipment that may have contributed to a fall from use,
- Have an open conversation with workers about their concerns,
- Conduct a refresher training on fall prevention, and
- Communicate the importance of fall protection throughout the organization.