Originally postponed from August, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s seventh annual Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction event took place Sept. 14-18.
The fall prevention stand-down is a national campaign that was developed in partnership between OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) and the Center for Construction Research and Training. Also supporting the event this year are OSHA-approved state plans, state consultation programs, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council (NSC) and others.
According to this year’s event information page, fatalities from falls at elevations continue to be the leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018.
OSHA describes the stand-down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. Employers whose employees are not exposed to fall hazards can also use this opportunity to have conversations with employees about other job hazards they face, protective methods and the company’s safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about falls and other job hazards they see.
In particular, companies can conduct a stand-down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity, such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace.
Anyone can participate in the program. In the past, these have included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential contractors, subcontractors, independent contractors, and others.
OSHA anticipates that thousands of employers nationwide will participate this year.
Employers will be able to provide feedback about their stand-down and download a certificate of participation following the stand-down.