Releasing statistics showing that 366 of nearly 1,000 construction-site fatalities were due to falls from elevation, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is making preparations for a four-day event designed to increase awareness about elevation accidents.
The National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is scheduled for May 6-10 and, as planned, will see construction employers across the country talking to employees about risk and accident prevention procedures.
OSHA, operating within the Department of Labor, notes that falls from elevation continue to comprise the primary cause of death for construction workers.
In addition to the hundreds who die annually from such accidents, more than 10,000 construction workers are every year seriously injured by falls.
The idea behind the Stand Down event is to encourage a dialogue between employers and employees regarding the hazards workers face, protective procedures, and the individual company’s safety policies and goals.
Recent Stand Down events have been conducted by construction companies of varying sizes in all fifty states and have focused on accidents related to skylight, bridge decking, scaffold, and ladder falls.
Employers taking part in what OSHA describes as a non-mandatory event can receive a Certificate of Participation from the agency for their participation. The agency additionally offers platinum, gold, silver and bronze certificates, depending upon how many years a company has hosted Stand Down talks.
Those talks, according to OSHA, can run the gamut - everything from 15-minute informal gatherings all the way up to several hours of training for several days running.
OSHA this year will be offering free Stand Down compliance assistance on its website and through the publication of the agency’s Fall Prevention Training Guide.
A report released earlier this year by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that overall there were more than 5,100 work site fatalities in 2017, with the construction, extraction, and transportation industries making up nearly half of that number.
By Garry Boulard
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