2019 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls May 6-10
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 370 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2016 (BLS data). To help reduce construction falls, employers and workers are invited to participate in the fifth annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, to be held May 6-10. The week-long outreach event encourages employers and workers to pause during the work day to talk about fall hazards and prevention.
What is a Safety Stand-Down?
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. It’s an opportunity for employers to have a conversation with employees about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about fall hazards they see. Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime during the week.
Suggestions for a Successful Stand-Down
1. 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.
2. Get others involved. Ask your subcontractors, owner, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down.
3. Review your fall prevention program – and what types of falls are likely to occur at your worksite. This will help provide a more effective stand-down. Common incidents include falls from:
- Structural steel
- Falls through a floor or roof opening or a fragile roof surface
Fall Protection Questions to Ask:
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 employees? Is better equipment available?
5 Steps For Your Stand-Down
- Develop presentations or activities that will meet the needs of your employees. The meeting should provide information 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. Make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation.
- Hold your stand-down. Be positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions.
- Follow up. If you learn something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes.
Keep your workers safe
ANSI DANGER Fall Protection Required Sign
Many workers are at risk of falling from great heights every year, and many more go to work wondering if they will leave safely. The best way to prevent disaster is to be prepared. Having safety plans and proper safety equipment can make all the difference in an employee’s life.