To raise awareness about the severity of fall hazards and the importance of fall prevention, the sixth annual OSHA National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction takes place the week of May 6 – 10, 2019.
Why fall hazard and fall prevention importance?
Fall protection continues to be at the top of the list for most cited OSHA violations. Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data recorded 887 fatal falls in 2017 which is the highest total since the census began in 1992. These 887 fatal falls (up from 849 in 2016) represents 17.2% of the 5,147 total worker deaths in 2017. In addition, 747 construction trades workers died in 2017, and this represents 14.5% of the total fatal work injuries. These alarming fatality numbers emphasize the importance of focusing attention on fall hazard awareness and fall prevention. Too often people think that fall protection and prevention is commonsense and perhaps become somewhat complacent. Being aware of the prevalence of fatal falls and having discussions about fall prevention strategies can help save lives.
What is the OSHA National Safety Stand-Down?
Employers may use this voluntary safety stand-down to pause work and focus on fall protection and safety with workers. Workers can also communicate with managers about fall hazards and safety concerns. Additionally, workers have an opportunity for reviewing and reinforcing fall prevention strategies. A safety stand-down can be a one-time event or individual safety related activities each day of the week; whatever works best for the workplace.
OSHA offers fall prevention strategies online, including:
- Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Down
- 5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls (a brief video)
- A Fall Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Plan for Employers includes preparation steps for training and toolbox talks.
Employers may choose to provide feedback about their stand-down activity(ies) to OSHA and download a Certificate of Participation. A certificate demonstrates employer’s commitment to fall protection and promoting a positive and safe environment for their employees.
If you’d like to learn more about fall prevention strategies or specific fall protection system products, reach out to the EDGE Fall Protection team.