Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Fall Prevention Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
This week-long event (May 8-12, 2017) encourages employees and employers to pause during their workday for topic discussions, safety demonstrations, and training’s in hazard recognition and fall prevention. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall prevention. (#StandDown4Safety)
Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Down
- Try to start early. Designate a coordinator to organize the stand-down. If you have multiple work sites, identify the team that will lead the stand-down at each site.
- Think about asking your subcontractors, owner, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down.
- Consider reviewing your fall prevention program. This will help provide a more effective stand-down.
Types of Falls That Could Happen
- falls from ladders
- falls from a roof
- falls from a scaffold
- falls down stairs
- falls from a structural steel
- falls through a floor or roof opening
- falls through a fragile roof surface
There are several important topics to discuss with employees during the stand-down, including the following questions:
- What needs improvement? Is your program meeting its goals? Are you experiencing fatalities, injuries, or near misses? Are employees aware of the company’s fall protection procedures?
- What training have you provided to your employees? Does it need revision?
- What equipment have you provided to your employees? Is better equipment available?
- Develop presentations or activities that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc.) can increase retention.
- Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last. Decide if the stand-down will take place over a break, a lunch period, or some other time.
- Promote the stand-down. Try to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation.
- Hold your stand-down. Try to make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions.
- Follow up. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes.
For more information on this year’s #StandDown4Safety, see the event webpage.
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #StandDown, #FallSafety, and #FallProtection so we can invite others to join us in standing down for fall safety!
In addition, in 2015, we published a great article on why every industry should #StandDown4Safety. Take a look!