The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Department of Labor and a few other federal agencies announced earlier this month that May 2-6 is the time frame for the third annual National Stand-Down.
The highest number of fatalities within the construction industry is attributed to falls. That said, this time has been set aside to help educate and remind construction employers and workers nationwide on the danger of falls.
Fall hazards in construction sites have never stopped being a serious issue. Falls account for nearly half of the reported annual deaths at construction sites. OSHA, NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training have come together to encourage construction company owners and employers to have daily discussions, training exercises, equipment training and demonstrations on preventing falls and recognizing fall hazards within the work space.
In the past, the program has gained a lot of traction. In 2014 and 2015, at least 4 million workers took part in the National Stand-Down. This year, OSHA is expecting thousands of employers to participate. Companies typically take a break to have a “toolbox talk” where employers can also conduct safety equipment inspections, talk about the different types of hazards that come with each specific role at a construction site and develop different rescue strategies should a fall take place. Afterwards, employers will give feedback on their Stand-Down on OSHA’S website and receive a Certificate of Participation signed by the Secretary of Labor.
Falls are a very real and constant hazard at construction sites. The National Stand-Down initiative is a way for employers to constructively speak to their employees on ways to help everyone go home safely. From large companies to small businesses, all construction industry employers should be happy to participate in this nationwide event to avoid construction worker falls.
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. is a personal injury law firm that helps victims of construction accidents in the Washington D.C., Fairfax and Greenbelt areas.