Promote Fall Safety Awareness During the National Safety Stand-Down

Promote Fall Safety Awareness During the National Safety Stand-Down

Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry and accounted for over one third of all construction fatalities in 20201. The industry has continued to see an even further increase in 20212. These deaths can be preventable with the right equipment, training, and action. The beginning of May brings the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down. The effort began in 2014 by OSHA to raise awareness for the high number of fall fatalities in the construction industry. This time serves as an opportunity for an open discussion about fall protection, safety concerns, and a chance reevaluate current protocols. The event was such a success that it continues each year to kick-off construction season. 

While this event is construction focused, workers in other industries are encouraged to join in on the discussion and conduct their own stand-downs. Managers or even entire organizations should take some time to pause or “stand-down” and focus solely on safety and prevention. To do so, employers can perform a toolbox talk where employees are encouraged to engage in safety activities such as training, hazard recognition and risk assessments. There is no one way to conduct a stand-down, so you can really choose a mix of activities that are pertinent to your workplace and employees.

Plan your toolbox talk for your workplace with:

  • Training
  • Fall protection demonstrations
  • Safety drills 
  • Safety audits
  • Equipment maintenance 
  • Reviewing safety policies and procedures

The stand-down can also include discussions of near-misses or actual incidents to help employees learn from past mistakes and take steps to prevent them from reoccurring. The ultimate goal of a safety stand-down is to raise awareness and promote a culture of safety within a team and organization as a whole. By implementing the training, drills, and audits, workers can reduce the number of incidents and accidents and further prevent injuries and fatalities. 

Managers should plan these events dependent on what works best for their workers. Allow them to take a break and gather as a team. No company is too small or too big to participate in a safety stand-down. 

This year, the National Safety Stand-Down takes place May 1-5. With construction season getting into full-swing, this stand-down comes at the perfect time, but safety stand-downs can and should be held multiple times a year to ensure that workers, equipment, and protocols are up to date. 

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1 https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/a-look-at-falls-slips-and-trips-in-the-construction-industry.htm

2 https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf