Working in construction comes with a lot of risks. Even if you're an experienced professional, spending your days balancing on a roof, scaffold or ladder is an inherently dangerous business, and no one is immune to the occasional misstep.
Falls represent the number one cause of injury and death on construction sites--especially in small, residential construction jobs. Annually, falls cause 10,000 serious injuries and 200 fatalities in the construction industry.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken notice of this alarming trend and is working to take action against it. It has developed an annual training and awareness-raising campaign called the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction--taking place May 7-11 of this year.
What is it?
Over a one-week period, the campaign aims to raise awareness and enhance construction site safety. Each day, employers will pause work, gather with their workers and dedicate constructive time and energy to construction safety and fall prevention. This is a time of open dialogue between workers and employers about proper safety measures and expectations surrounding fall prevention. Employers provide training and resources, and workers can also share concerns about fall hazards they witness on the site.
The aim of the stand-down is to avoid tragedy resulting from falls. It utilizes a three-part approach to achieve this goal:
- Collaborative planning between workers and contractors, prior to each job, to maximize safety
- Providing proper safety equipment to employees working at unsafe heights--and requiring that it be used
- Providing thorough training on how to correctly use such safety equipment--as well as how to otherwise follow best safety practices on a construction site
How do I participate?
Participation in this campaign is free. When your company registers for the stand-down, you'll receive a five-day plan with suggested activities and discussions to cover each day of the week. OSHA will also provide other resources, such as videos, inspection checklists and success stories from previous years.
Construction site accidents are frequent, usually serious and often preventable. Taking proactive steps to avoid tragedy in the workplace is valuable to everyone.