Falls happen fast. One step could cause a fall leading to injury or fatality. Good news: Falls can easily be prevented and National Safety Stand-Down provides the opportunity to discuss how. OSHA dedicates this week, May 7-11, to fall prevention in construction. Falls make up the highest percentage of deaths among workers in the construction industry. Falls are also the most cited safety violation on worksites. This Safety Stand-Down, take the opportunity to discuss fall prevention in your workplace.

Did you know a 10 foot fall can occur within one second? Some of the most common falls in the construction industry are from roofs, ladders and scaffolds. Take preventative measures and make knowledgeable decisions to create a safe work environment. Trained, knowledgeable workers can prevent falls from occurring by following necessary precautions.

This week employers have the opportunity to take a break during the workday to focus attention on safety. Anyone can participate in the National Safety Stand-Down. According to OSHA past participants include commercial construction companies, residential construction contractors, sub and independent contractors, highway construction, general industry employers, the U.S. Military, unions and safety equipment manufacturers. Any company or organization that wants to take the time to discuss job hazards and management of those hazards is encouraged to participate.

How to organize a safety stand-down:

Are you interested in conducting a stand-down but unsure of how to do so? Not to worry. A stand-down can be very simple to put together for your employees. Simply take a break during the day to discuss fall and other job hazards with your employees. This break can consist of a toolbox topic, equipment inspections as a team, and simple discussion of hazards including how to proceed if a hazard occurs. If you’re still feeling a little stuck on how to put together your stand-down, OSHA outlines some ways to prepare. They also provide a list of free events for the public to participate in.

Safety Stand-Down Topics:

The importance of fall prevention and fall protection should be a topic of focus while discussing safety during your stand-down. The most important thing to know about falls is that they are preventable. Take the opportunity to raise awareness about fall hazards in the workplace.

Fall prevention on roofs:

When on roofs, workers should never disconnect from a lifeline, work around unprotected openings or use defective equipment. Workers should wear a correctly fitting harness, use lifelines, inspect all fall protection and cover holes and skylights.

Fall prevention on ladders:

When on ladders, workers should never stand on top step of a stepladder, overreach or place the ladder on unleveled footing. Workers should make sure they’ve chosen the right ladder for the job, maintain three points of contact, secure and face the ladder.

Fall prevention on scaffolds:

When on scaffolds, workers should never use a ladder on the scaffold, stand on guardrails or climb cross-braces. Workers should use fully planked scaffolds, plumb and level, ensure stable footing and proper access to scaffold.

No matter what equipment used or where the job location is, workers should always use inspected equipment that is correct for the task and the worker. Don’t take chances. Stop falls and save lives.