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Stand-Down Harnesses 1M Against Falls

Thursday, June 5, 2014

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From a military base in Seattle, WA, to a YouthBuild event in Braintree, MA, to a stadium in Atlanta and a rebar maker in Longview, TX, more than one million U.S. construction workers are getting critical refreshers this week in preventing deadly falls.

The weeklong National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, which began Monday and ends Friday (June 6), is part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s StopFalls campaign.

StopFallsStandDown
OSHA

Falls are by far the leading cause of death in construction, and fall-prevention violations are the leading source of OSHA citations.

Employers, universities, suppliers and experts are all contributing to the week's many events in a voluntary, coordinated effort to address the leading cause of death in construction.

A full calendar of events is available here, and Twitter updates are available @USDOL and by using #StandDown4Safety.

'Unprecedented'

A safety stand-down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.

OSHA announces regional stand-downs intermittently to focus on various geographical areas or safety topics, but this week's effort "is an unprecedented event,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a kickoff video statement Monday (June 2).

OSHA's goal, announced in March, was to involve more than 25,000 employers and 500,000 workers. To do so would touch almost one in 10 construction workers in the U.S., the agency said.

Events this week were exceeding those numbers, OSHA said.

Dozens of companies, institutions, agencies and organizations across the entire construction sector are participating, including:

  • Allegheny Wood Products;
  • Associated General Contractors;
  • Brasfield & Gorrie;
  • Capital Safety;
  • Faith Technologies;
  • Illinois Homebuilders Association;
  • Iowa/Illinois Safety Council;
  • Key/Walbridge;
  • Mortenson Construction;
  • NuCor Steel;
  • R.C. Wegman Construction;
  • Ringland-Johnson Construction;
  • Turner Construction;
  • University of South Florida;
  • U.S. Veterans Administration; and
  • W.E. O'Neil Construction.

Bringing Workers Home Safely

“The economy is on the rebound, housing starts are on the rise, and the summer construction season is getting underway," Perez said.

“Now is the time to focus on this vital safety issue and make sure all construction workers come home at the end of every workday,” he said.

Falls from heights are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, accounting for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012, OSHA noted.

The deaths and injuries are preventable, according to the agency. Lack of fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation.

'Falls Cost'

More than 200 construction workers are killed and more than 10,000 are seriously injured by falls in the U.S. each year, according to OSHA.

An interactive U.S. map of fatal construction falls is available on the Stop Falls website.

Safety stand down poster in Spanish
OSHA

Employers interested in hosting a stand-down are encouraged to visit the Stand-Down website for information, provided in both Spanish and English.

OSHA’s message to workers and employers is that “safety pays and falls cost.” The agency said three simple steps can prevent falls:

  1. Plan ahead to get the job done safely,
  2. Provide the right equipment, and
  3. Train everyone to use the equipment safely.

Stand-Down Events

Throughout the week, employers and workers will pause during their workday to focus on the hazards of falls and on how to prevent them.

Industry and business leaders, including universities, labor organizations, and community and faith-based groups, have scheduled stand-down activities in all 50 states and across the world, according to OSHA.

Events for the rest of the week include:

  • Harris Rebar - Denver will continue presentations in Commerce City, CO, including a "dummy drop" on Thursday (June 5);
  • OSHA's Training Institute and Education Center (OTIEC) will partner with Miller Fall Arrest Systems and Honeywell on training at California State University; and
  • L.P. Ciminelli Construction Management will host a stand-down event for all contractors and sub-contractors on the $110 million Conventus project in Buffalo, NY.

Employers can provide feedback and receive a Certificate of Participation signed by the Secretary of Labor for completed stand-down event.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Contractors; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA; Residential Construction; Safety equipment

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