OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down
Written by Staff Writer
Since 2012, OSHA has implemented the National Fall Protection Stand-Down, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of fall hazards on construction worksites. Over the past three years, an estimated 5 million workers have participated in Safety Stand-Down events – from trainings and meetings to equipment inspections, presentations and toolbox talks. Utilizing creative and interactive methods, Stand-Down is designed to focus on fall protection in the workplace and ultimately prevent injuries and save lives.
Any employee who participates in any Safety Stand-Down activity can register on OSHA's website and receive an official Certificate of Participation signed by the United States Secretary of Labor.
Why Is Fall Protection Important?
Fall fatalities continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). Fall protection standards have also been the most frequently cited OSHA violations for over a decade. The deaths and other nonfatal injuries caused by falls are considered to be very preventable; in most investigations, accidents were caused by the violation of established standards, and utilizing the proper training, equipment or prevention procedures could have mitigated tragic consequences. Because of the sheer volume of incidents each year, fall protection is an incredibly important topic to spotlight during the annual Safety Stand-Down.
How Can Falls Be Prevented?
Employers for construction worksites are required to train workers thoroughly on fall hazards and fall protection, and Fall Protection standards have been set in place by OSHA to detail the many methods of fall prevention.
OSHA prescribes these three steps to prevent falls and save lives:
- Plan ahead to get the job done safely.
- Provide the right fall protection equipment to construction workers.
- Train everyone to identify fall hazards and use fall protection equipment safely.
Ideas for Safety Stand-Down Participation
A "Safety Stand-Down" is any event where employers talk directly to employees about safety. Companies across the country have chosen many different methods of participating in the Fall Protection Stand-Down. OSHA provides some great resources and suggestions for businesses to develop their own Stand-Down activities, including a calendar of local events that are free to the public.
If you miss the week of the Safety Stand-Down, don't worry! The purpose of Safety Stand-Down is to generate conversation year-round about fall protection and prevention in your company.
Here are some ideas on how you can join the conversation and participate in a Safety Stand-Down:
- Review your company's Fall Protection program.
- Does the program cover all types of falls?
- Are you meeting your fall protection goals? What could be improved?
- Are employees aware of fall protection procedures?
- Is your equipment up-to-date and up-to-standards?
- Inspect all fall protection equipment.
- Check the manuals or websites of your equipment manufacturer. They will include information about how to inspect the equipment and also when to replace equipment due to age or overuse.
- Put together equipment inspection instructions for workers to use throughout the year.
- Have workers complete Fall Protection training.
- This training could be as simple as a toolbox talk, but many employers opt for annual Fall Protection update training through quick online courses, such as those offered by OSHAEducationCenter.com. Use the code STANDDOWN for 50% off the Fall Protection certificate course!
- New workers should also receive fall protection training before even stepping foot onto a jobsite. Our OSHA-authorized Outreach courses provide great introductory training for construction workers, and both the 10-Hour OSHA Outreach course for construction and the 30-Hour OSHA Outreach course for construction contain fall protection sections.
- Develop hands-on activities to increase information retention.
- Worksite walks with hazard identification
- Equipment checks
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) demonstrations
- Encourage active participation from workers.
- Offer rewards for training and participation in Safety Stand-Down activities.
- Conduct discussions with employees about their concerns or ideas.
- Identify an OSHA Stand Down committee to address fall protection issues and initiatives throughout the year.
Bring these flyers to your Safety Stand-Down event or post them around the office to remind workers of the importance of fall protection! This Fall Protection Safety Stand-Down Flyer includes fall protection statistics for the construction industry.
You never know whose life this advice could save! Share our fall protection infographic to your social media followers to help spread the message.