The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has designated May 2-6, 2016 as the third annual National Safety Stand-Down. The event involves a nationwide effort to remind and educate employers and workers in the construction industry of the serious dangers of falls. During the week of the National Safety Stand-Down, companies across the country will pause during their workdays for discussions, demonstrations and training on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls.
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 337 of the 874 construction fatalities recorded in 2014. Additionally, fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards during fiscal year 2014.
“Falls still kill far too many construction workers,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels. “While we regularly work with employers, industry groups and worker organizations on preventing falls and saving lives, the National Safety Stand-Down encourages all employers – from small businesses to large companies operating at many jobsites – to be part of our effort to ensure every worker makes it to the end of their shift safely.”
More than 4 million workers participated in the National Safety Stand-Down in 2014 and 2015. This year, OSHA’s goal is to reach 5 million workers. If this goal is met, OSHA will have touched more than half of the construction workers in the country. Participating companies are encouraged to provide feedback to OSHA after their Stand-Downs and will receive personalized certificates of participation.
“In many workplaces, falls are a real and persistent hazard,” said Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “Given the nature of the work, the construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating, injuries. Since the effort began in 2014, the National Safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for both employers and workers to stop and take time in the workday to identify existing fall hazards, and then offer demonstrations and training to emphasize how to stay safe on the job.”
To access details on how to conduct a Stand-Down, as well as training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown.