May 1-5, 2023 is the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction week. Every year this weekly event helps raise awareness for those in the construction industry specifically about the importance of fall prevention and safety on the job. The stand-down is especially important as falls are the main cause of death for construction workers; however, those deaths can be prevented.
According to OSHA, “A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on "Fall Hazards" and reinforcing the importance of "Fall Prevention".
Employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company's safety policies and goals.”
Safety Stand-Down week enables management and workers to talk about potential fall hazards and safety in the workplace.
Anyone and everyone who wants to prevent hazards and fatalities in workplaces can participate in the Safety Stand-Down. Past participants have included commercial construction companies of various sizes, contractors, highway construction companies, the U.S. Military, trade associations, employee interest organizations and safety equipment manufacturers.
Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Down:
- Start early. Designate a coordinator to organize the stand-down.
- Ask subcontractors, owner, architects, engineers, or others associated with a project to participate in the stand-down.
- Review the fall prevention program and the types of falls that can happen.
- What needs improvement? Is the program meeting its goals? Are there fatalities, injuries, or near misses? Are employees aware of the company's fall protection procedures?
- What training is provided to employees? Does it need revision?
- Decide what information is best for the workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations.
- Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last.
- Promote the stand-down.
- Hold the stand-down. Make the event positive and interactive. Encourage employees to talk about experiences and encourage suggestions.
- Follow up.
Additional groups partnering with OSHA include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.
To buy or learn about safety equipment United Tool and Fastener carries, please reach out to a local UT&F showroom in Houston at 713-692-2323; in San Antonio at 210-495-8665; or College Station at 979-731-8665.