Deaths from falls are preventable. That’s the bottom-line message of OSHA’s Fourth Annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down, taking place May 8–12. Join employers across the country in raising awareness that could lead to improved practices and fewer incidents.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls from elevation accounted for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities in 2015. OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is a voluntary event that encourages employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can participate by taking a break during the week to communicate with employees about hazards, means of protection, and relevant policies and programs. Encourage employees to use safe work practices and to report fall hazards they see.
In prior years, the Stand-Down has reached millions of employees. Participants include commercial construction companies, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, the military, general industry employers, government, and unions, among others.
At some sites, the Stand-Down takes the form of a toolbox talk. At other workplaces, the observance is larger in scope, with regular work duties suspended for the day while employees participate in safety training and awareness activities.
If you’d like to participate in the Stand-Down but haven’t done much planning yet, you may wish to encourage your employees to participate in scheduled local events, or possibly do so as a team. Get details at https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown. You’ll also find information there about receiving a certificate of participation from OSHA.
Steps for Preventing Construction-Related Falls
OSHA recommends this 3-step process:
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely. When working from heights, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
PROVIDE the right equipment. Workers who are 6 feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect them, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely. Every worker should be trained on proper set-up and safe use of equipment they use. Employers must train workers in recognizing hazards on the job.