In the first week of June, the Occupational Safety and Health Adminisration (OSHA) conducted a National Safety Stand-Down, a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. This year’s event focused on fall hazards and the importance of fall prevention.
The need for increased awareness of fall prevention is very real. According to OSHA, falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers. In fact, they account for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012.
On the other hand, OSHA asserts that those deaths were preventable. For its part, the agency is exercising its enforcement powers. Fall-prevention standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards during fiscal year 2012.
OSHA conducted the stand-down to raise awareness and increase prevention.
To take part in this event, companies were encouraged to conduct an event that helps educate participants about fall prevention. Events could be as simple as a break to have a toolbox talk or to conduct safety-equipment inspections.
Participation in the stand-down was open to employer’s trade associations; federal, state and local governmental agencies; professional societies; institutes; consumer/labor-management interest organizations; and sub- and independent contractors.
The goal was to have more than 25,000 employers and 500,000 workers hold a stand-down. With these numbers, the event would reach almost 1 out of 10 construction workers in the country.
Employers responded enthusiastically to the campaign, hosting a variety of events across the country. They ranged from a demonstration of aerial lifts in Phoenix to harness demonstrations in Jacksonville, Fla., from a fall prevention trauma presentation in Amherst, Mass., to a ladder safety demonstration in Commerce City, Colo.
Employers that participated are eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation signed by Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.