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Safety Stand-Down Week Focuses on Falls

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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Construction industry professionals are taking part in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week, taking action to educate workers about the importance of fall protection on jobsites.

The Safety Stand-Down is an annual awareness event put together by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training and NIOSH, as well as partners throughout the construction industry. As part of the campaign, work crews are encouraged to stop work for some kind of educational talk, equipment inspection or other safety activity underscoring the importance or fall prevention.

fall arrest system

Professionals across the construction industry will take part in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week, taking action to educate workers about the importance of fall protection on jobsites.

According to CPWR, tens of thousands of companies across the United States participate yearly, with fall-prevention education reaching millions of workers.

Industry Participants

Industry partners on the campaign include the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association, Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. A number of safety-services suppliers and consultants are also official partners, including Safway, Ellis Fall Safety Solutions and the International Safety Equipment Association, an industry group for the safety industry.

The ISEA is offering an updated version of its Personal Fall Protection Equipment Use and Selection Guide in time for the Safety Stand-Down. The publication includes information on safety standards and regulations regarding fall protection, as well as an index of safety equipment manufacturers.

"Safety is a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee, and the Safety Stand-Down week provides a valuable platform to have those crucial discussions about making the workplace safer," said Anton Ruesing, director of the IUPAT Finishing Trades Institute. "While working safely reduces claims and injuries and lowers insurance costs, it is not always about the money, and fortunately most companies realize that we all have a responsibility to look out for each other. Unfortunately, there are still unsafe job sites out there, and that's what makes initiatives like Safety Stand-Down so important."

The ARMA and RCMA have both thrown specific support behind the campaign, noting that falls are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities in the construction industry.

“We know roofing professionals are highly skilled and know to take every precaution while working at high elevations, but sometimes they need a reminder to do so,” said Reed Hitchcock, executive vice president of ARMA. “We encourage our members to observe National Safety Stand-Down in order to minimize accidents in the workplace by raising awareness of an important issue that impacts the entire roofing industry.”

RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer echoed that statement, saying, "OSHA's Safety Stand-Down highlights the safety risks inherent in roofing where highly skilled, highly trained specialists routinely perform high-elevation work. We encourage RCMA members to participate in this event by taking a moment to emphasize critical safety issues and preventative practices, educate others about best practices, and open a dialogue with all shareholders to ensure a positive and safe workplace environment.”

Other associations and labor groups partnering on the initiative include the Association of General Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, The Association of Union Contractors and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers.

OSHA and Fall Protection

Fall protection was the top source of OSHA violations issued during fiscal year 2016, the fifth consecutive year it topped the agency’s enforcement list. The agency updated its Walking-Working Surfaces standard last year, and that revised standard became effective in January.

OSHA estimates the new standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Latin America; NIOSH; North America; OSHA; Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA); Safety; Safway

Comment from Jesse Melton, (5/9/2017, 9:09 AM)

But what do people learn and how? The quotes sound suspiciously salesman like and the publications are catalogs.

I'm all for safety, but the people who were quoted talk like they're addressing executive management at a software company. It highlights the eternal complaint that safety agencies and organizations are focused entirely on big companies. The big companies already know this stuff and where to buy equipment. But most construction companies are only exposed to whatever is on sale at Home Depot and 84 Lumber.

Gravity affects everyone the same. Reaching out to the small companies where the CEO is the sole employee is how you're going to get people educated. Those folks have bled for years building up to hiring employees and they're far less likely to take risks that could cost them everything. They'll educate their guys and in a few years the safety bar (ha!) will be raised across the board, not just Toll Brothers and Ryan.

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