This week is the National Safety Stand-Down 2018. The fifth annual safety week (May 7-11) is an opportunity for construction employers to talk about fall hazards, which are the leading cause of death on construction sites. Injuries and fatalities from falling are preventable, so don’t skip out on this safety stand-down.
Why does OSHA host the Safety Stand-Down?
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, but they can be prevented — that’s why OSHA has so many rules regarding protections for employees working at height. Even with safety standards, working at height is dangerous, and injuries and fatalities continue to happen. Citations for inadequate fall protection led OSHA’s list of the top ten safety violations in 2017; a spot they have held on that list since 2010. Those factors mean fall hazards command extra attention.
How can I participate?
Your business can participate by, first and foremost, ensuring that fall protections — and all other safety rules — are being implemented and observed on a regular basis. Since participation is voluntary, how you participate is up to you. A few options are conducting toolbox talks or safety meetings about specific jobsite hazards, inspecting safety equipment and reviewing procedures for working at height. During Safety Stand-Down Week, several states are hosting events — including seminars and safety demonstrations — that are free and open to the public. You might consider attending an event and inviting employees to accompany you. If there isn’t an event close enough, you can host your own! Submit the details to OSHA and they’ll add you to the map.
If your safety procedures are lacking or in need of review, now is the time to reevaluate and bring your policies up to par. Has your business been issued citations (especially fall citations) in the past? If so, this is a good opportunity to review those citations and make sure you’re not at risk of being issued the same ones again — repeat violations come with costly penalties. Avoiding repeat citations should be a priority not only because of high fines, but also in light of OSHA’s declaration that there is no time limit to the look-back period. That means if they choose to, OSHA can look back over your business’s entire violation history when issuing new citations.
Resources from OSHA
To help prepare for the National Safety Stand-Down, OSHA has provided several resources for participants. Resources include case studies, training materials, and meeting talking points. With so many sources of information, there’s no reason not to participate in the Stand-Down. The agency also participates in an ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign encompassed in three steps: plan, provide and train. Planning ahead, providing proper protective equipment and conducting safety training are key to preventing falls on your jobsites.
Let us know what you’re doing to participate in the 2018 National Safety Stand-Down! What’s your advice for top-notch protection from fall hazards?