In 2014, almost 40 percent of all construction fatalities were fall related, and all of these deaths were preventable. That's the key message the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to deliver to employers and workers alike during its third annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls from May 2-6, 2016.
Falls continue to be the construction industry's leading cause of death; each year, hundreds of workers die and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries. Despite these chilling statistics, the absence of proper fall protection remains the violation cited most frequently by federal safety inspectors.
"The men and women working in the construction industry drive our nation's growth and prosperity. We rely on them to build our homes, our roads and our communities," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "They deserve access to the equipment, training and resources available to prevent falls and the tragedy they can inflict. I encourage everyone to join the 2016 National Safety Stand-Down and help ensure that no one's livelihood is a matter of life or death."
OSHA and thousands of employers nationwide will participate in 2016's Stand-Down events. The agency launched its first National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in 2014. Thousands of companies and more than 2.5 million workers took part in the Stand-Down in 2015, making it the largest occupational safety event ever hosted.
A typical Stand-Down allows companies to stop work at a designated time to discuss and demonstrate how to the best prevent falls, and to encourage workers to apply these methods consistently. OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down web page provides free information on how to:
- Conduct an event.
- Receive a certificate of participation after the event.
- Access educational and training resources, including fact sheets in both English and Spanish.
"Our nation and our economy should not be built on the backs of fallen and injured workers," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls is an opportunity to reach millions of workers and bring employers, unions and other organizations together to show their commitment to safety and to ensure construction workers end their shift safe, healthy and ready to return home."
The National Safety Stand-Down is part of OSHA's fall prevention campaign, started in 2012 and developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda and The Center for Construction Research and Training
The construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating injuries," said Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH. "Preventing falls benefits everyone. The National Safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for both employers and workers to stop and take time in the workday to identify existing fall hazards, and then offer demonstrations and training to emphasize how to stay safe on the job."
For a list of free Stand-Down events open to the public near you, visit the Stand-Down calendar of events. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of all events taking place nationwide as employers sponsor many events solely for their workers.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/.