From May 7 to May 11, the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction will be sponsored by the Department of Labor, OSHA and others. It is an annual event held to raise awareness of the importance of fall prevention. Throughout the week, contractors are urged to participate in safety-related activities.
National Safety Stand-Down to Raise Awareness of Fall Prevention
On a construction site, a “safety stand-down” is a term used to describe a situation where normal work is paused and the entire site focuses its attention on a specific safety issue. It’s an opportunity to stop and have a conversation about issues, like fall hazards, protective methods, safety policies, goals and expectations.
The National Safety Stand-Down has taken the spirit of these discussions to the next level. Over the last three years, thousands of companies have held their own stand-downs, reaching millions of workers across the country and around the world.
In 2017, more than 150 public events were held in the United States. This May 7 through May 11, you can hold your own stand-down or join with others at an existing event.
Falls are the Leading Cause of Death
Falls are currently the leading cause of death for workers. In 2016, they accounted for 370 of the 991 construction fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, these incidents are preventable, if you take precautions and follow certain steps.
5 Ways to Increase Safety this May
1) Educate and Inform
Fall prevention starts with education. Although many have seen falls first-hand, workers often believe it can’t happen to them.
To raise awareness of the issue, you could share real life stories and statistics that make the dangers of work-related falls hit home. By educating and informing your workforce, you will have much better luck at getting them to participate in training activities.
2) Conduct On-Site Training
OSHA also suggests holding simple on-site training sessions that last only about five to 15 minutes each. Workers should be encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion.
You could hold what is known as a “toolbox talk” on topics like these:
- Aerial lifts
- Preventing falls from roofs
- Preventing falls from scaffolding
- Extension ladders
- Step ladders
3) Reinforce your Message with Posters, Stickers and Handouts
If you want to really make sure your safety message hits home, create a strategy to reinforce your message throughout the week.
- Hang posters
- Hand out hardhat stickers
- Update your fall prevention plan
- Distribute informational pocket cards
4) Conduct a Demonstration
Another way to improve safety is to conduct a fall prevention demonstration. You could have a contractor representative, supervisor, on-site safety professional or guest expert demonstrate how to properly fit, wear and use fall protection equipment.
5) Inspect Equipment
Properly working equipment is one of the keys to remaining safe at any height. It’s highly recommended that every contractor inspect their ladders, scaffolds, aerial lifts and personal fall arrest systems. This simple precaution is a great way to help prevent equipment problems before they occur.
This National Safety Stand-Down Week, join contractors from across the country as they shine a light on fatal falls, a deadly yet preventable problem.