Stopping falls, saving lives
2015 National Safety Stand-Down to reach workers worldwide
Over the last 10 years, more than 3,500 workers have died from falls. In fact, falls remain the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for more than a third of deaths in the industry. If you’re involved in construction or any other high-risk industry, you may be familiar with these numbers. But what you might not know is that there’s a growing safety movement that focuses on saving the lives of workers through fall prevention education.
Last year marked the first National Safety Stand-Down for fall prevention in construction, a combined effort from OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. During the stand-down, employers and workers paused their workday to focus on preventing falls through talks, demonstrations and trainings.
The Stand-Down was a tremendous success, reaching more than 1 million workers and thousands of employers. Almost 5,000 Stand-Downs were reported in all 50 states and internationally. OSHA’s Harwood grantees also trained more than 105,000 workers and employers on fall hazards during the event. Small businesses, large corporations, and some of the country’s biggest construction companies stopped their work to dedicate time to fall safety. Because falls can happen anywhere and anytime, costing workers and employers their livelihood, participation was not limited to the construction industry. Nearly 15% of Stand-Down certificates were given to non-construction employers. In fact, the largest single participant was the United States Air Force, reaching approximately 650,000 active duty, civilian and reserve service men and women.
NASCAR driver Greg Biffle joined officials from OSHA, the Department of Labor and more than 400 construction workers to talk about fall safety at a $400 million renovation project at the Daytona International Speedway.
Due to the success of the 2014 program, this year’s Stand-Down has been extended to two weeks. Our goal is to have over 3 million workers participate in over 20,000 stand-downs from May 4 to 15, 2015. As the economy continues to grow and the full construction season begins, we hope the Stand-Down will remind employers and workers that fall prevention is an important part of every workplace safety plan.
“Fatal falls and injuries touch workers in all kinds of jobs across the country; it’s a broad problem that has a terrible impact on workers and their families,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Given the tremendous response we’ve received, it’s clear that this is an important issue to a great number of people across this nation. I know it is to me and all my colleagues here at the Department of Labor, which is why we are so pleased to work towards preventing these tragedies through innovative and collaborative efforts like the Safety Stand-Down.”
Employers and workers all over the nation are encouraged to pause in their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and dedicate themselves yet again to the safety of this nation’s most valuable resource: workers.
To learn how to partner with OSHA during the Stand-Down, get information on how to conduct a successful event, resources for employees and workers, receive a certificate of participation, and the latest news, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown.
About the Author
Caitlin Harwood is a writer/editor for the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA
Office of Communications.