OSHA National Fall Prevention Stand-Down 2017

From May 8th until May 12th, the OSHA will hold its fourth annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down. What is a Stand-Down? OSHA describes it as “an opportunity for employers to have a conversation with employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals.”

According to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), each year in the US more than 200 construction workers are killed and more than 10,000 are seriously injured by falls. Falls are the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction field and account for one-third of work-related deaths in the industry as a whole.

Through the years, OSHA has been able to reach over 1 million workers through their Stand-Downs. While many major construction companies have participated, OSHA is hoping to reach more small residential contractors where expertise and experience is lacking.

OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA-approved state plans, state consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council (NSC), the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) education centers to produce these Stand-Downs. So how do you have a successful stand down? First, anyone can participate in the stand down. The goal is to stop working and have a talk or meeting to inspect equipment, rescue plans or fall-hazards. Employers that participate will then have knowledge of what hazards exist and what improvements need to be made.

OSHA has offered the following suggestions to help with your Stand-Down:

  • Start preparing early and designate personnel to organize and lead the Stand-Down.

  • Consider asking subcontractors, architects, engineers, or other groups to join the Stand-Down.

  • Review your fall prevention program to identify fall risks at your site, determine opportunities for improvement, and examine the training and/or equipment you’ve provided to employees.

  • Develop relevant activities for your workplace, and consider including hands-on exercises to increase employee engagement.

  • Decide when and where to hold the Stand-Down.

  • Promote the Stand-Down to your employees and encourage them to attend and participate.

  • Hold your Stand-Down. Try to make it positive and interactive, and involve employees as much as possible.

  • Follow up after the Stand-Down to address any hazards you identified or make any necessary improvements to your fall prevention program.

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