Stand-Down to Prevent Construction Falls
Posted on September 15, 2020 in Firm News
Today marks the start of the National Safety Stand-Down to help reduce falls in the construction industry. From September 14 to September 18, safety advocates and worksites nationwide will be setting down their tools to prevent fall hazards from plaguing workers another season. This voluntary event created by the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (O.S.H.A.) serves as a valuable opportunity for employers to identify present and persistent fall risks and create a plan to protect their workers from serious and fatal injuries.
Occupational falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction every year. In 2018, O.S.H.A. reported that 338 out of 1,008 fatalities in the industry were directly linked to falls. Fall protection has also remained the number one safety violation most frequently cited in worksite visits conducted by O.S.H.A. field agents.
Unfortunately, construction fall accidents resulting in fatalities are often preventable. In partnership with several national safety organizations, O.S.H.A.’s goal for the National Safety Stand-Down is to spread awareness about the prevalence of fall hazards and provide the safety steps all workplaces require to create a safer environment for everyone.
Safety Stand-Down Basics
O.S.H.A. promotes a safety stand-down as an avenue for employers to talk directly to their workers about safety concerns. A stand-down is conducted in addition to your scheduled safety meetings and trainings. It stands as a unique opportunity to set down every other responsibility and prioritize all workers’ health and safety in a company or collaboration on a worksite.
Stand-downs initiated to address fall hazards primarily focus on fall prevention. Measures that can reduce falls in the workplace are the initial steps to preventing falls that cause serious and fatal injuries. Other areas that can be addressed to reduce falls include reviewing the current safety policies, protective measures, and the goal for implementing safety throughout the workday.
The most common fall injuries occurring in construction to address in a stand-down, include:
- Falls from a roof
- Falls from a ladder
- falls from a structure
- Falls through a floor or rood opening
- Falls from scaffold
- Falls down stairs
- Fall through a fragile roof surface
Anyone, even companies without these specific fall hazards, can participate in the National Safety Stand-Down. Falls can occur from common hazards such as slippery floors, crowded walkways, and unkept property. Accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and all workers would benefit from fall prevention training to reduce their risk of injuries.
How To Participate in a Stand-Down
A stand-down does not have to be anything more elaborate than a genuine conversation with workers and managers. Some employers choose to hold a stand-down at the lunch table, the toolboxes, or the lawn. Others gather workers safely together in a warehouse or larger meeting areas to address topics in a group setting.
The purpose of the event is to stop, talk, and address the topic of fall prevention over all other tasks at that time. Stand-downs can have a significant impact on the work culture of a company. The meetings assure workers that their employer cares about their safety and is taking the time to address concerns that could prevent occupational harm.
Employers who participate can provide feedback on their stand-down events and download a Certificate of Participation to be posted in the workplace for support. For more ideas on preparing for a stand-down in your workplace, O.S.H.A. provides suggestions and free safety events that are open to the public.
National Organizations In Support of Stand Down
Several national safety organizations have joined in to spread awareness this week on fall prevention in construction, including:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (N.I.O.S.H.)
- National Occupational Research Agenda (N.O.R.A.)
- Center for Construction Research and Training (C.P.W.R.)
- American Society of Safety Professionals (A.S.S.P)
- National Safety Council
- National Construction Safety Executives (N.C.S.E.)
- U.S. Air Force
- OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers
This outstanding participation from so many reputable organizations illustrates the dire need for fall prevention measures in workplaces across the country. Every workplace can help do their part to prevent fall hazards this week. Find more information on fall prevention through the organizations above or ideas on how to hold a stand-down here.
New York City Construction Accident Attorneys
It is more important than ever before to prioritize the health and safety of NYC workers. Deadlines and project revenue do not take precedence over the value of human life. Neglecting to require or implement safety measures to protect construction workers and tradesmen from accidents is purely reckless and can have large scale consequences.
At the law firm of Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, we have been fighting for New York City workers and victims of construction accidents for over 60 years. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious construction injury or become ill due to a lack of safety precautions at your workplace, our knowledgeable accident attorneys are here to help.