Whether you fall 20 stories or 20 feet, a workplace fall can change your life in seconds. It can be debilitating, causing you to lose your livelihood - or even your life. Even the most experienced of workers can fall without the proper safety measures in place.
In 2014 alone, 337 workers died from falls on construction sites. Falls also remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry and lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA.
Each year across the country, employers, workers, safety associations and OSHA dedicate time to spreading the word that stopping falls can save lives.
Last year marked the second annual National Safety Stand-Down for fall prevention in construction, a combined effort from OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training. During the stand-down, employers and workers paused their workday to focus on preventing falls through talks, demonstrations and trainings.
The Stand-Down has been a tremendous success the last two years. Nearly 1 million workers received certificates during the first stand-down and 2.5 million last year. Stand-Downs were reported in all 50 states and internationally. Over the past two years, small businesses, large corporations, and some of the country's biggest construction companies have stopped their work to dedicate time to fall safety.
Though most of the stand-downs took place in the commercial construction, participation was not limited to the construction industry. Nearly 15% of Stand-Down participants were non-construction employers. In fact, the largest single participant in 2015 was the United States Air Force, reaching approximately 1.5 million active duty, civilian and reserve service men and women.
This year, our goal is to have over 5 million workers participate from May 2 to 6, 2016. As the economy continues to grow and the full construction season beings, we hope the Stand-Down will remind employers and workers that fall prevention is an important part of every workplace safety plan.
"Falls continue to effect workers in all kinds of jobs across the country; it's a broad problem that has a terrible impact on workers and their families," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "It's clear that this is an important issue to a great number of people across this nation. Through innovative and collaborative efforts like the National Safety Stand-Down, we are able to reach countless workers and employers and emphasis the importance of preventing falls on the jobsite."
Employers and workers all over the nation are encouraged to pause in their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and dedicate themselves yet again to the safety of this nation's most valuable resource: workers.
To learn how to partner with OSHA during the Stand-Down, get information on how to conduct a successful event, resources for employees and workers, receive a certificate of participation, and the latest news, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown.
Falls from elevation are a leading cause of death in the construction industry and are preventable by planning ahead to get the job done safely, providing the right equipment, and training everyone to use the equipment safely. Preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show in 2014 that Falls, Slips, and Trips accounted for 349 of the 874 fatalities in the construction industry. If you look at overall fatal occupational injuries there were 793 fatalities related to Falls, Slips, and Trips. Of those incidents 647 involved fall to a lower level and 129 fatal falls were falls on the same level.
National Office OSHA:
The University of Texas at Arlington
Division for Enterprise Development
OSHA Education Center
140 W. Mitchell
Arlington, TX 76010