Falls kill. It’s a sobering fact of life that anyone in the construction business knows all too well. In fact, falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs continue to be the leading cause of death in the industry, with more than 200 construction workers killed and over 10,000 seriously injured every year according to stopconstructionfalls.com.
The most tragic part of the equation? These deaths can be prevented. OSHA reports that fall prevention safety standards routinely rank among the top 10 most frequently cited violations.
That’s why every year, OSHA hosts the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, a campaign to raise awareness about construction fall hazards. This year’s campaign runs from May 4-15, 2015.
How does the Stand Down work?
The National Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event, and anyone can participate, including commercial and residential construction contractors and subcontractors, general industry employers, unions, industry trade associations, and safety equipment manufacturers. Activities you can do with your workers include “toolbox talks” about safety topics or specific job hazards, equipment inspections, emergency planning, or other safety training.
Need some ideas? OSHA offers a variety of resources to plan your own Safety Stand-Down campaign including educational and training materials, campaign posters for your workplace, instructional safety videos, and links to many other resources.
No pain, all gain
Participation is free and you don’t have to register for anything. Simply conduct your own Stand-Down activities between May 4-15, 2015. Don’t forget to share your experience with OSHA and download your own Certificate of Participation at Stop Fall Stand Down.
Prevention: as simple as 1-2-3
Falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs can be prevented, and thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths can be prevented every year. It’s just a matter of following three basic steps: Plan, Provide, and Train.
- Plan ahead. Anytime a project requires working on ladders, scaffolds, or roofs, don’t skimp on the planning phase. Thoroughly lay out how the project will be done, what tasks are involved, and exactly what tools and safety equipment you’ll need, and don’t forget to include that safety equipment when estimating costs.
- Provide the right equipment. Anyone working six feet or more above lower levels is at risk for serious injury or death from a fall. Provide your workers with the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and fall protection gear including personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
- Train your workers. Providing the right equipment won’t do much good if your workers don’t understand proper setup and safe use of that equipment. Make sure everyone has adequate training in the safe use of ladders, scaffolds, and fall protection systems, as well as in hazard recognition.
Safety is a matter of life and death in the construction business, and the National Safety Stand-Down is the perfect opportunity to get your entire crew together and focus on fall hazards and prevention. Last year's Stand-Down reached more than a million workers, and OSHA hopes to see more than 20,000 Stand-Downs involving more than three million workers this year.
Ready to get onboard? See the Getting Started website for a simple, cost-free plan you can use or modify for your own Stand-Down activities.
For more information about protecting your business from fall hazards and other potentially costly risks, see the construction insurance experts at Heffernan Insurance Brokers.