This week marks the 6th Annual National Safety Stand-Down for Preventing Falls in the Construction Industry. Throughout this week, companies are encouraged by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) to voluntarily conduct jobsite stand-downs to discuss matters pertaining to fall protection and prevention. There are NO time parameters for this stand down; this could be a 10 minute toolbox talk or several hours of training taking place over the course of this week.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and it is because of this that OSHA has continued to put more emphasis onto both addressing potential fall hazards and educating all workers involved. To put some of this into perspective, fatal falls accounted for over 37% of all construction industry fatalities recorded in 2017 according to OSHA. An interesting thing to point out from this statistic is that a significant portion of these fatalities did not involve a fall from a great distance. Almost half of these fatal falls (approximately 47%) occurred at a height of 15 feet or less! Ladder usage is another important factor as around one in every four fatal falls involved the use of a ladder. There is much more involved with addressing fall hazards than simply donning harnesses and setting up guardrails. Proper project-specific planning and maintenance of general site conditions also play an important role.
It is recommended to contact supervising staff at each of your active projects and suggest that they conduct a stand-down at least one time this week to discuss fall protection and prevention with the workers on their respective sites. Check out the two links below for helpful insight into this week’s Fall Protection Stand-Down:
- This link will direct you to the event page on OSHA’s website discussing the stand down in greater detail.
- This is designed to be a “one stop shop” for anyone wishing to participate in the stand down. There are links on this page to training materials and the such
The most important thing to remember is that almost all fall related incidents are preventable. The most effective way to prevent these kinds of incidents is through education and planning. Ensure that all workers tasked with working around fall hazards are trained to recognize said hazards and also that those workers are trained to use and understand the fall protection intended for their given project. The development and implementation of a site-specific fall protection is imperative to addressing fall hazards workers could face on a project by project basis. Taking the time to re-educate your workers and to review your fall protection plans on a regular basis can truly make a significant difference.