The National Safety Stand-Down helps raise awareness of the issue of workplace fall hazards, while setting goals and expectations for workers to follow.
Every year, hundreds of construction workers lose their lives as the result of a fall. Year after year, falls are a leading cause of death in the workplace.
In 2020, more than 1 in 5 workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry. Just over one-third of these deaths were due to falls, slips, and trips; and were almost entirely from falls to a lower level. These deaths can be prevented with the right training and PPE.
Despite continuous advancements in fall protection technology, we continue to see a consistent number of fatalities caused by falls from elevation and violations of the fall protection standards. For the most part, this can be attributed to either an ineffective or absent fall protection training program.
In an effort to continue to prevent falls in construction and general industry, fall prevention programs like the National Safety Stand-Down helps raise awareness of this issue, while setting goals and expectations for workers to follow.
What is a National Safety Stand-Down?
A Safety Stand-Down event is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety and raise awareness of workplace fall hazards. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention.
Related: Learn more about Fall Protection Equipment and how to use it in our Fall Arrest System Guide.
What if my workplace doesn't include fall hazards?
If your workers are not exposed to fall hazards, you can use this opportunity to have a conversation with them about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, your company's safety policies and goals, and perform any essential equipment checks. It can also be an opportunity for employees to point out to management any other job hazards they may have noticed.
How can my workplace conduct a Safety Stand-Down?
Commercial construction companies (and others) can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or to take part in another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job specific hazards. See OSHA’s suggestions to prepare for a successful Safety Stand-Down for more ideas.
Did you know that employees who utilize fall protection must be trained by a Competent Person?
This Competent Person not only has to be "capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them," but they also must be able to effectively communicate the requirements of the fall protection to all authorized employees.
Does your Competent Person have the tools they need to provide proper fall protection training?
Competent Persons are required to have an in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations associated with fall protection as well as the various types of fall protection equipment available and how to best apply them in all situations. Competent Persons must know the appropriate time to utilize each piece of equipment and train all authorized users on the correct use.
In addition to understanding what is required to prevent falls, Competent Persons must also understand the requirements around rescuing an employee in the event of a fall. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employers provide "prompt" rescue for an employee who has sustained a fall, but that cannot always be expected of emergency services (calling 911). The Competent Person must be educated on alternative ways to rescue employees who have taken a fall.
The Competent Person is crucial to an effective fall protection program. The first step to ensuring that you have solid fall protection training is to thoroughly equip your Competent Person with the tools and training they need to properly educate your employees.
Where can I go for more information on building an effective fall protection training program?
For more information on building an effective training program, contact one of our Safety Support Team today.
National Safety Stand Down in 2023 is taking place over May 1st-5th. If you're interested in purchasing Fall Protection Products, we are proud to offer a complete selection of the most popular fall protection products from all the leading manufacturers.