Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls account for 30% of fatalities in the construction industry. To raise awareness about falls and help prevent them, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 3-7, 2021.
What Is a Safety Stand-down?
A safety stand-down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. The National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and reinforces the importance of fall prevention. Since its inception in 2014, the free, annual event has helped educate nearly 10 million workers on fall prevention.
How Can You Conduct a Safety Stand-down?
You can conduct a safety stand-down by taking a break to host a toolbox talk or engage in another safety-related activity. Such activities may include performing safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards. A stand-down could be as simple as a 15-minute toolbox talk or as in-depth as several hours of training over a week.
A safety stand-down should provide an opportunity for employers and employees to talk about hazards, protective methods and workplace safety policies, goals and expectations.
Who Can Participate in a Safety Stand-down?
Anyone interested in educating employees about fall hazards, or other job hazards, can participate in the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction. In past years, participants have included:
- General contractors
- Sub- and independent contractors
- Employers’ trade associations
- Federal, state and local government agencies
- Professional societies and institutes
- Consumer/labor-management interest organizations
To participate, you simply need to hold a safety stand-down with your employees this week, May 3-7, during the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Then, you can go online to download a certificate of participation at either OSHA’s Stop Falls Stand-down webpage or the National Safety Council’s webpage.
We have also created a toolkit—the 2021 National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction Toolkit—that provides an overview of the event and includes resources that you can use to raise employee awareness, as well as host a safety stand-down of your own.