When it comes to construction accidents, falls from height continue to be a construction business owner’s worst nightmare. They’re dangerous, they cause severe injuries, they can lead to financially draining claim settlements – and all too often, they result in a worker’s death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 9,000 construction workers across the country experienced a fall in 2012, and falls from height accounted for 269 of 775 fatalities that year. They continue to be a leading cause of death in the construction industry.
What’s really tragic is that these deaths are preventable.
To help raise awareness about construction fall hazards, OSHA is hosting the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction the week of June 2-6, 2014. It’s a voluntary five-day program divided up into 15- to 30-minute activities you can do with your workers such as “toolbox talks” on safety topics or other safety activities such as equipment inspections, emergency plan development, or discussions about job-specific hazards.
How do you participate?
If you choose to conduct your own Safety Stand-Down, start by seeing OSHA’s suggestions for ensuring a successful Stand-Down. Next, you’ll want to visit www.stopconstructionfalls.com, a website created by OSHA, NIOSH, and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) as part of the national campaign. There’s a wealth of resources here, including sample toolbox talks, handouts, instructional videos, tips for trainers, and other educational resources. OSHA has even provided a simple, cost-free stand-down plan you can use and customize to your needs.
Ready to join the campaign?
Here are a few steps to get you going:
- Read the How-to Guide for Partners Joining the National Fall Prevention Campaign to develop your own “Safety Pays, Falls Cost” campaign
- Help spread the word with the Campaign to Prevent Falls Flyer
- Put a link to www.stopconstructionfalls.com on your website
- Use materials from the campaign to make a presentation at an upcoming meeting
- “Like” the Stop Construction Falls Facebook Page
- Post campaign-related information on your company’s Facebook page
Nothing to lose, everything to gain
The Stand-Down won’t cost you anything and there’s nothing to register for. Simply conduct your own Stand-Down activities during the week of June 2-6 – anything from a simple 15-minute toolbox talk to several hours of training over the week. Then share your experience with OSHA and download your own Certificate of Participation at Stop Fall Stand Down.
With fall-related deaths on the rise in the construction industry, the Stand-Down campaign is the ideal opportunity to get some face time with your employees and really drive home the message about fall hazards and prevention.
For a stark reminder of the dangers of falls, be sure to take a look at the interactive fatality map showing how many lives were lost to construction falls over the past three years. It’s a sobering picture. And since fall prevention safety standard violations were among the 10 most frequent OSHA violations in 2012, this campaign is the perfect refresher course for employers to do a better job of complying with those standards.
Safety can be a matter of life and death in this business, and you owe it to your employees, your customers, and yourself to develop the most effective safety culture possible.
When you need sound advice on fall prevention and other risk management, look to the experts at Heffernan Insurance Brokers. With our years of experience in the construction business, special contractor insurance programs, and market access, we’ll make sure you have the coverage you need for every project while saving you time and money in the process. Contact us today!