Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds a National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in the construction industry. A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.
While the annual OSHA safety stand-down focuses on the construction industry, any and all workplaces can and should hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. For the past several years Falls in Construction have accounted for over 35% of the total fatalities on Construction Sites. 2016 Bureau of Labor statistics show that in the cases where the height of the fall was known, 591 cases, 47% were falls of 15 feet or less.
Companies not exposed to fall hazards can also use this opportunity to have a conversation about the other job hazards, protective methods, and company safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about any job hazards they see.
Need Help on How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down?
Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking an extra break to have a toolbox talk, a safety luncheon/breakfast, other safety-related activities such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific hazards. Owners, managers, and supervisors are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime May 7-11, 2018. Here are OSHA’s suggestions to prepare for a successful Stand-Down and highlights from the past Stand-Downs. OSHA also hosts an events page with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and employees find events in their area.
Three Steps to Success - Customize a Plan for your Operation
Prior to anyone working at elevation, create a safety program customized for your operation. Does your worksite include hazards like skylights, wall openings, ladders, or scaffolds? Think about the entire job from start to finish, and identify any elevation hazards.
Remember that deaths from falls at elevation are preventable. In any industry, when working at an increased elevation, follow OSHA's three-step process.
1. PLAN ahead to get the job done safely. Remember the 5 P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance)!
Plan projects to ensure that workers complete the job safely. Begin by deciding how to do the job, the involved tasks, and the required safety equipment for each step in the plan. When estimating the cost of a job, include safety equipment and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the job site. Know your OSHA regulations as it pertains to fall protection requirements: four feet for general industry and fix feet for the construction industry. These are the federal OSHA guidelines, however, some states' OSHA regulated programs have more stringent guideline requirements.
2. PROVIDE the right equipment.
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To help prevent injuries, provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Use the right ladder or scaffold to get the job done safely. For roof work, if workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect it for safe use.
3. TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely.
Train every worker on proper set-up and safe use of equipment they use on the job. Train workers in recognizing hazards on the job.
- Prior to anyone working at elevation, create a safety program customized for your operation.
- Think about the entire job from start to finish, and identify any elevation hazards.
- Remember to PLAN, PROVIDE, and TRAIN.
Does your company need additional consultation to help prepare a risk management program to keep your employees safe and prevent worksite accidents? Contact us today to learn more.
About the Author
Risk Management Experience Director