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Join OSHA's 2021 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls

Written by Staff Writer

What Is OSHA Certification?

From May 3-7, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hosting its 8th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

OSHA Education Center encourages workers and employers in any industry to participate in this voluntary event to improve workplace safety.

The purpose of a Safety Stand-Down is to take time to discuss workplace safety with employees, including job-specific hazards, protective measures and company safety policies. OSHA's annual stand-down event aims to educate workers about fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

Employers in industries with minimal fall hazards are also welcome to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down by holding a meeting to discuss workplace safety.

For the past ten fiscal years, OSHA has reported Fall Protection — General Requirements as the most commonly cited OSHA violation. A lack of adequate training and fall protection equipment contributes to dangerous falls — the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

Who Can Participate in the National Stand-Down?

The primary focus of the event is preventing falls among construction workers, but any employer interested in educating workers about workplace safety can participate.

Past participants have included commercial construction companies, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, the U.S. military, unions, employer's trade associations, institutes and safety equipment manufacturers.

Your company can hold a safety stand-down no matter your industry, company size or location. If you are unable to host your own event, visit OSHA's website to find an official stand-down event in your area. The majority of events are held online, and they're free and open to the public. Pre-registration may be required for some events.

Why Is Fall Prevention Training Important?

Each year, OSHA releases a list of the most frequently cited OSHA safety violations in the United States. In fiscal year 2020, four of the top violations were associated with inadequate fall protection and training.

These include:

  • Fall Protection (construction)
  • Scaffolding (general requirements, construction)
  • Ladders (construction)
  • Fall Protection — Training Requirements (construction)

OSHA violations account for thousands of severe workplace accidents every year. One of the most effective ways to reduce fall-related injuries and fatalities in the workplace is regular fall prevention training.

OSHA Education Center is proud to offer a variety courses that educate workers on fall prevention and protection, including:

  • OSHA Fall Prevention: The High Ground — This advanced 8-hour course provides in-depth information on construction fall risks, protective equipment and OSHA safety requirements.
  • OSHA Fall Protection — Construction workers can complete this 1-hour, awareness-level course to learn how to recognize fall hazards, use proper fall protection and understand employer requirements for fall prevention measures.
  • Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls — This 1-hour, awareness-level course is designed to teach workers in any industry how to identify and avoid common causes of slips, trips and falls in the workplace.
  • SST 8-Hour Fall Prevention — New York City construction workers at all major jobsites are required to complete this course to comply with NYC Local Law 196 of 2017.

How You Can Participate

Anyone is welcome to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down. Employers typically schedule a safety stand-down talk or activity with their employees during the week of the event.

If you are an employee, you can encourage others to join the event and share their feedback on the company's policies for safety and fall prevention.

After your stand-down, you can visit OSHA's website to provide feedback about the event and get your certificate of participation.

You can download your certificate anytime from May 3 until June 31. Organizations that take part in the National Safety Stand-Down for multiple years will be recognized with a bronze, silver, gold or platinum certificate, depending on how many years they have participated.

Planning a Successful Stand Down

Stand-downs can be as simple or complex as you like. Some companies hold a 15-minute toolbox talk, while others conduct several hours of training throughout the week.

Popular activities include conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans and discussing job-specific hazards. These activities give employers an opportunity to go over misconceptions and raise awareness of common hazards.

If you have questions about how to execute a stand-down or would like to invite an OSHA representative to your event, contact your Regional Stand-Down Coordinator for more information.

OSHA's suggestions for preparing for a successful stand-down include:

  • Decide when, where, and how long your stand-down will be.
  • Assign a qualified staff member to coordinate the event. It is best to start planning for your stand-down ahead of time.
  • Consider inviting anyone associated with your business to join. This may include subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers and others associated with your projects.
  • Review your fall prevention program to ensure you are proving accurate and relevant information. You should ask yourself what types of falls could happen, what needs improvement and what training and equipment you currently provide to protect your employees.
  • Keep things interesting by developing engaging presentations. Include hands-on activities to keep your employees alert and involved.

After your event ends, take the participants' feedback into account and consider updating your safety policies or fall prevention plan.

2021 National Safety Stand-Down Partners

OSHA's partnerships are what make this event possible. By participating in a stand-down, you are joining a vast network of businesses and government organizations that are dedicated to making workplaces safer nationwide.

This year's partners include:

  • OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers
  • OSHA-Approved State Plans
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)
  • State consultation programs
  • The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)
  • The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)
  • The National Safety Council
  • National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE)
  • The U.S. Air Force

Demonstrate your commitment to safety by participating in this year's National Safety Stand-Down. For more tips on planning an effective stand-down, visit OSHA's website.