The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held a national stand-down last month to bring attention to, and raise awareness of, the prevalence of falls in the construction industry. Falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers, accounting for one third of all work-related deaths.
A safety stand down is a voluntary event which encourages employers to take a break and talk directly to employees about safety. This campaign, which ran from June 2-6 of this year, specifically focused on “Fall Hazards” and “Fall Prevention.”
During that week in June, over 25,000 businesses and a million workers across the country confirmed participation in the stand-down. Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health noted that the scope of the effort was unprecedented and OSHA could not have been happier with the commitment by both businesses and workers to ensure a safe workplace for all.
In 2012, 570 construction workers lost their lives in falls. Lack of fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA. The stand-down was a part of OSHA’s fall prevention campaign which was launched two years ago with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda and The Center for Construction Research and Training. This campaign continues.
Efforts like these create safer work environments and prevent senseless tragedy. Hopefully the awareness created by the stand-down will lead to employers planning ahead and providing the correct equipment and training on that equipment so that workers can get the job done safely.