For the 11th consecutive fiscal year, OSHA’s fall protection (29 CFR 1926.501) remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard. While the Fall Protection Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503) was the agency’s seventh most frequently cited standard in FY 2021. In the meantime, fall fatalities from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Above all, the BLS data reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those falling from elevation. In an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries, organizations should participate in OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down event and activities. The one-week event aims to raise fall hazard awareness and reinforce fall protection training across the country.
All Workplaces Are Encouraged to Hold a Safety Stand-Down
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. All workplaces should hold a stand-down event or meeting to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of preventing falls. However, participation is not limited to the construction industry, and no business is too small to participate. Workplaces that are not exposed to fall hazards should also leverage this opportunity to promote a positive safety culture. In fact, OSHA recorded that many non-construction employers held Stand-Down events.
In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, contractors, general industry employers, the U.S. Military and other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
Additionally, several domestic and international companies working outside of the United States participated in past Stand-Downs, and OSHA hopes to have more international participation this year.
How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
Generally, managers should plan a Stand-Down that works best for their workplace schedule. Accordingly, some of the recommended practices in conducting a Safety Stand-Down are as follows:
- Conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk.
- Inspections of safety equipment, developing rescue plans or discussing job-specific hazards.
- Develop presentations or activities that provide information about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. In addition, sharing hands-on exercises, including a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc., can also increase retention.
- Besides, consider inviting the subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers, or others associated with your project to participate in the Stand-Down for a collaborative effort.
- Also, learn more about suggestions to prepare for successful Stand-Down and highlights from past Stand-Downs.
- Lastly, check out the organization’s safety culture and good practices recognized as a ‘Star’ designation under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program.
In sum, the Stand-Downs are free, and participants do not need to register to join. If an employer would like to host a free event for the public, please submit the event details or contact your Regional Stand-Down Coordinator.
Employers may share information on their Stand-Down events, Fall Prevention Programs, or suggestions with OSHA on how initiatives such as these can be improved. Employers can also download a certificate of participation following the event.
Resources for Preventing Fall Hazards
In summary, employers should provide competent person training and proper supervision in the workplace, ensuring workers are aware of fall hazards. Virtual Reality Fall Protection Training can provide an effective and engaging way to practice and validate fall safety requirements without the real-world consequences. Learn more about VR curriculums developed by industry experts to help raise risk awareness and to help prevent fall accidents.
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Other Resources and Helpful Information on Fall Protection:
- Stand Down Videos and Stories (CDC/NIOSH): Construction Falls – six videos in Spanish; Stand Down Stories: Putting Safety First – At Outer Banks, NC; At Virginia Beach, VA.
- National Safety Stand-Down FAQ, event activities, and highlights.
- OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about hazards and proper safety procedures.
- Virtual Reality (VR) Safety Training for Fall Protection.
- OSHA’s Fall Educational resources and materials.
- Safety hazards and safeguards involving demolition, protecting roofing workers, and fall protection in construction.
- Ladder Jack Scaffolds Fact Sheet (PDF).
- Scaffolding Booklet (PDF).
- Fall Protection in Residential Construction.
- Latino Worker Safety Center (LWSC):