This week is National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, where we join with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and others concerned about protecting construction workers from serious injury and death from falls.
Fatal falls and on the job fatalities for construction workers suffered in a fall involve all sorts of work sites. Here in Indiana and Illinois, construction workers are at serious risk of a fatal fall if they are working in:
- Government construction
- Private construction
- Residential construction
- Commercial construction
- Industrial construction
- Institutional construction
- Infrastructure construction (heavy civil, heavy engineering)
- Road work or highway construction.
For more on fatal falls in the construction industry and the dangers facing construction workers on the job here in Indiana and Illinois, read our discussions in:
- Construction Falls: Scaffolds and Ladders Can Cause Serious Accidents;
- Legal Protection for Construction Workers from High Risk and Danger of Serious Injury or Death on the Job; and
- Construction Workers in Indiana and Illinois Deserve Respect for Working One of the Most Dangerous of Jobs.
National Safety Stand-Down Week for Construction Workers
All this week, there will be an effort in both the public and private sectors to address the risk of construction workers falling while on the job and being severely injured. Fall hazards are very real on any construction site, and the number of construction falls resulting in fatal work accidents is shockingly high.
In fact, more construction workers are killed from falls than from any other kind of on-site accident according to OSHA research. Fatalities from falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers in the United States.
This is why this week’s Safety Stand-Down is so important. From NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.:
“Having a vested interest in standing down operations and taking a moment to emphasize worker safety combats a preventable public health problem and promotes a positive work culture.”
What is a Stand-Down?
This week, construction industry leaders in Indiana and Illinois as well as anyone employing construction workers (sub-contractors, trades, etc.) are encouraged to stop and take the time to discuss the danger of falling down on a construction site with their workers.
From OSHA’s official National Safety Stand-Down site, the goal is increased education and awareness not just for construction workers but also for those who are supervising their efforts. OSHA will issue “certificates of participation” to those who implement stand-downs this week.
Some construction workers may be asked to participate in a Safety Stand-Down for the first time this week. Others will remember participating in past years; that’s okay. Reinforcement of fall safety guidelines is always a good idea.
National Stand-Down Participants
Large employers like the United States Air Force will be participating in a Safety Stand Down campaign this week. Other national construction industry leaders will be offering Stand-Down programs, too, including Safway Group, a leader in scaffolding, access and industrial services, and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“ISEA’s fall protection members recognize the importance of comprehensive, relevant and practical solutions that will result in meaningful protection of the nation’s workforce from fall hazards…. They routinely create new fall protection solutions, including custom configurations, using modern technology for a wide array of workplace fall hazards.”
What Happens at a Stand-Down?
Each participant in the National Safety Stand-Down Week has the ability to tailor its presentation to the needs of its crew and work force. OSHA offers resources at its web site to help here. NIOSH has videos that can be shown as part of a Stand-Down program.
Construction workers may be invited to training sessions on fall safety this week, for instance. There may be free lunches where a presentation is given by an expert in fall safety for that particular craftsman.
After all, those working on scaffolds may have different safety concerns than those who are working as roofers. Stand-Down programs will focus on the needs of the particular worker.
Stand-Down Week should include more than talk, though. There needs to be time taken this week for equipment inspections and reviews of job sites for fall safety protocols. Workers need to be asked their views on fall safety and their answers respected.
From OSHA: “ A Safety Stand-Down should provide an opportunity for employers and employees to talk about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations.”
Stand-Down Events in Indiana and Illinois
There are also free public Stand-Down events being scheduled this week. From the OSHA calendar, the following events are included in those noted for Indiana and Illinois:
Date: Monday, May 8, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Mexican Consulate 331 S. East Street Indianapolis IN 46204
Description: The Indianapolis Federal OSHA Office will be conducting three, fall hazard identification and training sessions in conjunction with the 2017 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction Week.
Date: Friday, May 12, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m. (Eastern Time)
Location: Construction Technology Building Room 121, Vincennes University, 1002 N. First St., Vincennes, IN 47591
Description: Hoosier business owners, employers, managers, safety directors, employees, etc., are invited to participate in the annual safety campaign to prevent falls. INSafe will present educational resources, safety program best practices, IOSHA statistics, and more.
Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Polish American Contractors and Builders Association, Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL
Description: Presenting information on types and use of fall protection equipment to employers and employees
- Abbott Park
Date: Friday, May 12, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Joint Abbott/Abbvie Fall Protection Stand Down. 200 Abbott Park Road, Abbott Park, IL
Description: Event for Abbott/Abbvie personnel and contractors with vendors and presentations on types and use of fall protection equipment.
In our next post, we will discuss the perspective of construction workers toward work zone safety and current construction dangers facing them today, as well as their impression of how interested and concerned the construction industry may be about the well-being of its workers.
Construction workers are suffering serious injuries and many are dying from injuries suffered in a fall on a construction site. The National Safety Stand-Down works to fight against these needless tragedies. Let’s be careful out there!