One-third of all deaths in construction involve falls, so there is a push to focus on fall prevention in the construction industry. To raise awareness, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and the Department of Labor created the National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction – the ninth annual initiative ran from May 2 to May 6, 2022. OSHA also encourages companies to host their own events as part of the campaign.
What is a safety stand-down?
These are voluntary events where thousands of companies share the importance of workplace safety programs. These safety initiatives can reduce the direct (wage replacement, medical expenses, personal injury litigation costs, and property losses) and indirect costs (lower productivity, disruptions, low morale, and damage to company reputation) caused by injured workers. It also strives to increase productivity by promoting employee welfare.
How does it work?
A worksite stand-down pauses onsite work to discuss this vital issue. Employers should encourage employees, contractors, architects, engineers and owners to attend and review the various guidelines on hazards and prevention. These events can be held at the beginning of the day or alongside a midday lunch period to minimize the disruption. It can involve hands-on training while working on ladders, scaffolding, raised platforms, stairways, and roofs. These events also provide safety equipment refreshers on body harnesses, guardrail systems, safety net systems, lanyards and lifelines, and personal fall arrest systems. Employers can adapt the stand-down template to fit the specific safety concerns of the worksite.
It is best for everyone
This initiative is a win-win: employers with safer worksites will face fewer injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits, and employees will get home safely more often from their shifts. The work is difficult and dangerous, and anything that reduces the number of fatalities from falls and other causes should be explored and embraced.