Falls are a leading cause of death for workers, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities and 648 of the 4,836 fatalities in all industries recorded in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But they are also preventable: Hazard elimination, proper training, and use of fall protection can change these numbers.
The 4th Annual Safety Stand-Down from May 8-12 provides an opportunity for employers to talk directly to employees about the risk of falls, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Companies can participate by stopping work and providing a focused toolbox talk on fall prevention, conducting equipment inspections, demonstrating fall protection and procedures, or any number of other activities that educate workers on fall hazards and solutions.
During this week, major campaign partners will be providing resources and hosting stand-down events across the nation and internationally, but participation is encouraged year-round!
Over the last few years, thousands of companies participated in the Stand-Down and over 130 public events were held across the country last year. You can organize your own stand-down on your jobsite(s), join with others in your area to hold an event, or check out a list of regional events open to the public at www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/calendar.html.
StopConstructionFalls.com offers a 5-Day Plan with suggestions for each day of the week. Its Training & Resources section provides a variety of resources such as toolbox talks, inspection check lists, videos, and Success Story highlights from past events.
History of Safety Stand-Downs
The National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down was conceived by OSHA in 2014 as part of the National Falls Campaign to raise awareness surrounding the severity of fall hazards in construction and the importance of preventing them.
In a construction setting, the term “safety stand-down” is used to describe a wide variety of activities where normal work is paused and the entire site focuses on a particular safety issue.
While some employers may use stand-downs to call attention to specific hazards present on their site as an intervention, the campaign has adopted the use of the stand-down to draw attention to fall hazards in a nation-wide weeklong event
Participation began with, but is not limited to the construction industry, and no business is too large or small to participate.
In previous years, we’ve had participants in residential construction, commercial construction, industrial construction, mining, general industry, and more.
In fact, the largest single participant in 2015 and 2016 was the United States Air Force, reaching more than 1 million military and civilian personnel. However, nearly half of certificates for participation completed through OSHA’s website were for Stand-Downs with less than 25 workers.
For more background data on fall hazards, check out the CPWR-NIOSH infographics.
Don’t forget to order free hardhat stickers at stopconstructionfalls.com/online-ordering-form/ while supplies last.
After you’ve participated, get an OSHA Certificate at www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/#cert!