OSHA Announces Dates for Safety Stand-Down
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 3, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced the dates for this year’s National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.
The eighth annual event is slated for May 3-7, and OSHA is encouraging construction employers and stakeholders to join the event to promote awareness and training “to address one of the industry’s most serious dangers.”
“Workers suffer serious and fatal injuries from falls and have a devastating impact on families and businesses,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health James Frederick. “This important collaboration with the construction industry encourages employers to learn how to better control fall-related hazards and improve their safety and health programs.”
The fall prevention campaign was developed as part of the national safety stand-down in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Occupational Research Agenda and The Center for Construction Research and Training.
According to the DOL, since 2014, this collaboration has helped train nearly 10 million workers on fall prevention.
OSHA encourages everyone to use #StandDown4Safety to promote the event on social media, and to share feedback after their events and obtain a personalized certificate of participation.
In 2020, the event was postponed to September because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite COVID-19, OSHA still geared up for thousands of employers nationwide to participate. To guide efforts, OSHA created a National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down webpage with information on conducting a successful event, how to post local events and additional educational resources that are in English and Spanish.
Other resources (in English, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese) on the page include:
- A brief video entitled “5 Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls,” which encourages employers to educate and train workers on fall protection equipment;
- A series of fall prevention publications, with an emphasis on construction, and fall prevention videos;
- OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide, which provides a lesson plan for employers, including several Toolbox Talks; and
- Guidance on ladder and scaffolding safety.
“Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018 (BLS data),” the agency notes on the webpage. “Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.”
Other Recent Initiatives
In late 2019, the National Association of Home Builders announced that it received a $150,000 grant from OSHA as part of the Susan Harwood federal safety and health training grants, which aim to “help workers and employers recognize serious workplace hazards, implement injury prevention measures and understand their rights and responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970,” according to OSHA.
The grant was to allow the NAHB, along with the Job-Site Safety Institute, to continue offering a Fall Prevention in Residential Construction course at no cost to NAHB members across the country, according to the organization in an emailed press release at the time.
That year, OSHA announced that it awarded approximately $10.5 million in Susan Harwood grants to 79 nonprofit organizations nationwide. As part of the awards, OSHA divvied 54 grants in urban and economically distressed areas.
In addition to grants, OSHA announced in January that it had developed a new collection of resources to help employers prevent falls on the job site.
OSHA said at the time that its goals for the resources are to promote awareness about fall hazards and educate job creators and workers on fall prevention. Falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities and are also the No. 1 safety violation (7,270 violations in 2018).
Also, in November of that year, construction technology provider Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America announced that they were teaming up to fund a grant program to supply select, in-need member contractors with fall protection harnesses size for women.
The AGC argued that women—who represented approximately 10% of the overall construction labor force at the time, with even lower representation in trades positions—are one of the largest demographics to fill the potential gap in skilled labor (about 80% of construction firms report having a hard time filling the hourly craft positions). However, jobsites need to recognize and meet the needs of a gender-diverse workforce, including properly sized and comfortable PPE.
“The construction industry agrees safety must be everyone’s priority, but we also need to recognize when safety needs aren’t being met for some workers,” said Allison Scott, head of construction thought leadership at Autodesk.
“Technology is improving jobsite safety, but it’s not a silver bullet. Construction is—and will continue to be—a people-driven business. The industry needs more people, and women must feel safe and welcome on jobsites if we want them to choose a career in construction. Ultimately, when we address safety for women, we improve safety for everyone.”
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