On March 19, OSHA announced a national safety stand-down from June 2 to 6 to raise awareness among employers and workers about the hazards of falls, which account for the highest number of deaths in the construction industry.
“Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in this industry,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “We’re working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. We are getting the message out to America’s employers that safety pays and falls cost.”
During the stand-down, employers and workers are asked to pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety and roofing work safety. OSHA has also launched a national safety stand-down website with information on how to conduct a successful stand-down. Afterwards, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation.
The stand-down is part of OSHA’s ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which was started in 2012 and was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program. The campaign provides employers with information and educational materials on how to plan ahead to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for their workers, and train all employees in the proper use of that equipment.
“We are pleased to join again with OSHA and our NORA partners to focus on fall prevention at construction sites,” said Dr. John Howard, NIOSH director. “Preventing falls in the construction industry benefits everyone, from the worker, to the employer, to the community at large. This safety stand-down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards.”
Fall protection in construction is consistently one of OSHA’s most frequently violated regulations. In fiscal year (FY) 2013, it was the most frequently cited standard, with 8,241 violations. Other top violations in FY 2013 also involved fall hazards, such as scaffolding in construction, with 5,423 violations, and ladders in construction, with 3,311 violations.
To participate in the stand-down, visit https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/index.html.