The construction industry can do wonders for the economy, but a construction site still continues to be a dangerous workplace for its employees.
Fatal falls from elevations continue to claim lives in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 401 of the 1,061 construction fatalities in 2019 were caused by falls from elevation.
Sadly, these deaths could have been prevented. OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, supported by the National Safety Council and other groups encourages employers to set some time aside to educate and inform construction site staff about fall protection and safety when working from heights.
The National Safety Stand-Down
The National Safety Stand-Down was held last May 3-7, 2021. This program was originally launched in 2012 to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction.
The amount of support that leads to its success lead it to become a tradition at every construction season in May. Countless employers nationwide participate in the annual Fall Safety Stand-Down in their efforts to lessen fatalities in the construction site.
Although a Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to discuss construction safety with their employees, it is still just a voluntary event that focuses on “Fall Hazards” while also reinforcing the importance of “Fall Prevention”.
Construction companies can take the Fall Safety Stand-Down as an opportunity not only to discuss fall prevention but also discuss other job hazards in the industry, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals. But, of course, it is a two-way street– employees can also voice out any fall and other job hazards they see so that management can do something about them.
Who Can Participate in the National Safety Stand-Down?
Anyone can participate in the National Safety Stand-Down. After all, safety should be for everyone. According to OSHA, in the past years, participants included commercial construction companies, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. Military, other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
Although construction workers are often the victim of fatal falls on the site, falls can happen in different industries as well which is why both OSHA and NSC encourage employers and employees across all industries to conduct a Stand-Down.
How to Conduct a Successful Stand-Down?
Here are some steps you can follow to conduct a successful stand-down:
- Start the event early,
- Encourage each member of the company to participate, especially subcontractors, architects, engineers, construction workers, etc.
- Review the company fall prevention program. Make sure to include different types of fall including:
- Falls from ladders
- Falls from a roof
- Falls from a scaffold
- Falls down the stairs
- Falls from a structural steel
- Falls through a floor or roof opening
- Falls through a fragile roof surface
- Identify what needs improvement in the company fall prevention program.
- Determine what types of training have the company provided to the employees.
- Identify the equipment the company provides to the employees and if a piece of better equipment is available.
- Prepare presentations and activities that can cover all the information the company needs for better workplace safety.
- Determine the date and duration of the stand-down.
- Make the stand-down appealing to employees.
- Apply any necessary change in the company to help reduce fatalities from falls in the workplace.
OSHA offers different kinds of resources that your company can use to raise awareness and educate your construction employees about fall safety.
Resources include the following:
Aside from conducting a stand-down within your company, you can also host a public event to educate even more people. You can submit your event details on OSHA’s Events page and contact your regional Stand-Down coordinator.