The sixth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is a week-long event from May 6 to 10. The campaign is jointly sponsored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council, and other organizations. The campaign started in 2014, and millions of employees have participated over the years.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that fatal construction falls made up over one-third of construction industry fatalities in 2017, and this voluntary event offers the opportunity for employers to speak directly with their workers about job safety. Companies are encouraged to have employees take a break to discuss safety issues, such as fall hazards and prevention. Past campaign participants included construction companies and contractors, unions, safety equipment manufacturers, and others.
Acting Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction stated that the Stand-Down will be a huge success for companies of all sizes. He added that it is the biggest compliance-assisted project of its kind that OSHA has ever participated in. There will be free online resources offered to employers during this special event. NIOSH is providing an Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator, which shows how scissor and boom lift operators can navigate workplace hazards. There are also infographics available on how to use fall arrest systems, preventing falls at smaller companies, and skylight and hole fall prevention.
Guide to Participation
The OSHA website has guidelines for companies that wish to participate. Managers can easily plan toolbox talks. Safety equipment inspections, conversations about job hazards, or sitting down to design a rescue plan are all productive ways to Stand-Down. The first step is to plan a presentation that will address the needs of employees and the employer, including safety goals and policies. It should take place as part of the daily schedule, without adversely impacting the day’s workload. Stand-Downs do not have to be especially long, and hands-on activities are especially useful for increasing retention. To increase attendance, the Stand-Down can be promoted ahead of time.
As part of the occasion, OSHA will be hosting free events that are open to everyone. Companies can also have free events of their own. Participants can offer their feedback and download a Certificate of Participation after the events are completed. Receiving feedback and carrying out frequent safety procedures and policy checks are all useful ways to maintain the proper state of mind to prevent construction falls and accidents.
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