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April 30, 2021
ASSP promotes national stand-down for fall protection

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) is offering safety professionals online fall protection safety resources in conjunction with the eighth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 3–7.

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Employers can participate in the stand-down by taking breaks for fall protection toolbox talks or other safety activities such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific fall hazards.

The stand-down coincides with National Construction Safety Week. The stand-down campaign aims to assist employers in talking with workers about fall hazards and safety in general. Organizations of all sizes have participated in the construction safety week and fall protection stand-down over the years, according to ASSP, including highway construction companies and the U.S. military.

ASSP has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); the National Safety Council (NSC); and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), a labor union-affiliated safety research center, in support of the stand-down event.

“Falls from height are the leading cause of death for construction workers,” fall safety expert Thom Kramer, PE, CSP, a member of the ASSP board of directors, said in a statement.

“Workers can face risks on roofs, above floor openings and even at lower levels or when using PPE that deceptively feels safer. But no matter the task, workplace fatalities are preventable,” Kramer continued.

Falls from heights are one of the “Fatal Four” or “Focus Four” safety hazards, along with caught-in/-between, electrocution, and struck-by hazards. Fatalities caused by falls from heights continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, according to OSHA, which cited 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that fatal falls accounted for 401 of the 1,061 construction industry fatalities that year.

The industry also faces strong federal enforcement in fall protection compliance. The fall protection, ladders, scaffolds, and fall protection training standards are among the most frequently cited OSHA standards.

Fall protection code, toolbox courses

ASSP’s online Fall Protection Toolbox offers resources to help employers identify and control risks, provide relevant training, and protect workers at height. The toolbox contains free articles, podcasts, and webinars from industry experts. Safety professionals also can download a free copy of The Fall Protection Code that outlines the complete series of American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSP Z359 standards.

“Safety professionals should encourage their organizations to take part in the stand-down,” Kramer said.

The CPWR, NIOSH, and OSHA also are offering resources for use during the National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. OSHA’s resources for conducting a safety stand-down include articles and infographics about construction industry risks and fall protection, fall safety videos, and publications about ladder safety.

The Park-Ridge, Illinois-based ASSP has a worldwide membership of approximately 36,000 occupational safety and health professionals.

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