Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls account for 30% of fatalities in the construction industry. To raise awareness about falls and to help prevent them, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the National Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction, which runs May 3-7, 2021.
What Is a Safety Stand-down?
A safety stand-down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. The National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and reinforces the importance of fall prevention. Since its inception in 2014, the free, annual event has helped train nearly 10 million workers on fall prevention.
How Do Businesses Conduct a Safety Stand-down?
Companies can conduct a safety stand-down by taking a break to host a toolbox talk or perform another safety-related activity, such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific hazards. A stand-down could be as simple as a 15-minute toolbox talk or several hours of training over a week.
A safety stand-down should provide an opportunity for employers and employees to talk about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations.
Who Can Participate in a Safety Stand-down?
Anyone interested in educating employees about fall hazards, or other job hazards, can participate in the National Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction. In past years, participants included:
- General contractors
- Sub- and independent contractors
- Employers’ trade associations
- Federal, state, and local governmental agencies
- Professional societies and institutes
- Consumer/labor-management interest organizations
To participate, businesses simply need to hold a stand-down with their employees during the week of the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Then, they can go online to download a certificate of participation at OSHA’s Stop Falls Stand-down or National Safety Council’s (NSC) webpages.
One of the most important reasons a business should participate is to demonstrate to employees its commitment to fall prevention and other safety issues on the job site. Employees and employers alike recognize the importance of demonstrated top-level commitment to promoting a positive safety culture.
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