By Lauren White, RCS Assistant Editor.
Did you know that the leading cause of death for construction workers is falls from elevation? In 2019 alone, 401 of the 1,061 construction fatalities were due to preventable falls according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The National Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event that raises awareness of fall hazards in an effort to end fatalities and injuries due to falls.
The week of May 3-7, 2021 marks the eighth annual Safety Stand-Down. This nationwide event provides employers an opportunity to speak with their workers about the importance of safety, fall hazards and fall prevention. And for companies whose employees aren’t exposed to fall hazards, managers can still have a conversation about the other risks associated with their work, protective methods and the safety policies and goals of the company.
Anyone can take part in the Safety Stand-Down. Participants of previous Stand-Down's have ranged from residential construction contractors and general industry employers to trade associations, safety equipment manufacturers and the U.S. Military.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, isn’t alone in their efforts to raise awareness about safety. The following groups have partnered with OSHA to make this important event successful:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)
OSHA approved State Plans
State consultation programs
Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)
American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)
National Safety Council
National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE)
U.S. Air Force
OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers
So how do you conduct a Safety Stand-Down? Some companies have a toolbox talk about safety and execute safety equipment inspections, while others develop rescue plans and discuss job-specific hazards. It’s important to plan a Stand-Down that will work best for your company and your employees. OSHA provides free resources for how to prepare for a successful Stand-Down, highlights from previous years, in addition to hosting an Events page where free events are listed, making it easy for people to find other events near them.
After the Safety Stand-Down, download a Certificate of Participation to show your dedication to safety in your workplace. And make sure to share your Stand-Down story on social media and use the hashtag: #StandDown4Safety.