The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. In addition to the annual event, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun a National Emphasis Program to prevent falls, which is the violation cited most frequently in construction industry inspections.
“This national emphasis program aligns all of OSHA’s fall protection resources to combat one of the most preventable and significant causes of workplace fatalities,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We’re launching this program in concert with the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the industry’s Safety Week. Working together, OSHA and employers in all industries can make lasting changes to improve worker safety and save lives.”
In fact, any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on Fall Hazards. Reinforcing the importance of fall prevention is another way to be proactive in reducing falls. Additionally, employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals.
Past Stand-Down Participants Include:
- Commercial construction companies of all sizes
- Residential construction contractors
- Sub- and independent contractors
- Highway construction companies
- General industry employers
- U.S. Military
- Employer’s trade associations
- Employee interest organizations
- Safety equipment manufacturers
This event is open to anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace. Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity. For example, discussing job specific hazards, conducting safety equipment inspections, or developing rescue plans. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace.
OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.
OSHA offers some suggestions for a successful Stand-Down which include:
- Try to start early.
- Think about asking others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down.
- Consider reviewing your fall prevention program.
- Develop presentations or activities that will meet your needs.
- Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last.
- Promote the stand-down.
- Hold your stand-down.
- Follow up.
It is important to decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises like a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc. can increase employee engagement. It is important to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation. In Addition, make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes. At NSC we offer resources to help with Fall Prevention Training.