OSHA is holding a National Safety Stand-Down this week, a voluntary event geared at bringing awareness to a specific safety topic. The focus for the weeklong event is on preventing falls in construction and eliminating fall hazards. Anyone in the construction industry can participate in the Safety Stand-Down by either attending one of the many events scheduled across the country for the week or hosting your own event for your company and employees. The Stand-Down is also open to any company outside the construction industry that has employees who are exposed to fall hazards.
Roughly 35 percent of all construction fatalities are from falls, making it the number one cause of worker deaths and holds the top spot on OSHA’s Fatal Four. The Fatal Four are the top four causes of construction worker deaths, which also includes being struck by objects, electrocutions, and being caught in or between objects, and are responsible for over half of all construction fatalities. According to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 279 of the 806 construction worker deaths in 2012 were from falls. Over the past several years fall protection has consistently been at the top of the list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards violated.
Preventing falls and eliminating fall hazards can easily be accomplished with proper planning and training that includes ensuring working are equipped with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). If you haven’t already planned on holding a Stand-Down this week it’s not too late. It can be as simple holding a 15 minute safety meeting in the morning before work gets underway. Take some time this week to walk around whatever jobsite you are working on to identify all the potential fall hazards and ensure that adequate fall protection is in place. For more information be sure and check out our Avoiding OSHA’s Fatal Four Safety Hazards – Fall Hazards.
If you have workers on ladders the NIOSH Ladder Safety App is a great free tool that is available on the iPhone and Android smartphones. In addition to helping ensure the ladder is positioned at an optimal angle for safe use, the app also helps you select the proper ladder and inspecting it to make sure it is safe to use. You can check out our review of the NIOSH Ladder Safety App here.
OSHA has a website for the Fall Prevention Stand-Down that includes resources and educational material on fall prevention as well as information on dates, times and locations regarding events taking place this week and a place to provide feedback and download Certificates of Participation. The website address is https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/index.html.