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Three Years and Going Strong: Stand-Down for Fall Safety

February 29, 2016
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Nura Sadeghpour (202) 245-0673

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the third year in a row, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in a combined effort with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), among other partners, announce the construction Fall Safety Stand-Down during the week of May 2-6, 2016. This event offers a unique opportunity for employers and workers across the nation to stand tall, stand proud and stand-down for fall safety, pausing in their work to dedicate time towards activities that promote the prevention of fatalities from falls.  

Falls on construction sites are the leading cause of death in the industry with many construction occupations requiring work at heights and climbing ladders or scaffolds on a daily basis. Lack of fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation, while deaths and injuries from falls remain a notably preventable public health problem.  

“In many workplaces, falls are a real and persistent hazard. Given the nature of the work, the construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating injuries,” said Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH. “Since the effort began in 2014, the National Safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for both employers and workers to stop and take a few moments in the workday to recognize existing fall safety hazards, and then offer demonstrations and training to emphasize how to stay safe on the job.”

The 2016 Stand-Down is a voluntary opportunity for employers to speak directly to their workers about fall hazards through talks, demonstrations and trainings and to reinforce the importance of fall prevention requirements.  

“Falls still kill far too many construction workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “While we regularly work with employers, industry groups and worker organizations on preventing falls and saving lives, the National Safety Stand-Down encourages all employers – from small businesses to large companies operating at many job sites – to be part of our effort to ensure every worker makes it to the end of their shift safely.”

Due to past success and overwhelming interest, NIOSH, OSHA, and partners will work with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans and civic and faith-based organizations to host Safety Stand Downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. To guide the efforts, OSHA has developed the official National Safety Stand-Down web site for conducting a successful stand-down.

“Based on reports from companies who provided data to OSHA, we saw more than a 35% increase in the number of workers reached during the 2015 Stand-Down compared to 2014,” said CPWR Executive Director Pete Stafford. “This event is gaining momentum and we are confident that the 2016 Stand-Down will reach even more stakeholders, providing the information and education necessary to reduce the number of fall fatalities and injuries in construction.”

The Fall Safety Stand-Down is part of a larger campaign to prevent falls in construction, launched four years ago by NIOSH, OSHA, CPWR, and the NORA Construction Sector Council. Additional partners include the American Society for Safety Engineers (ASSE), National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the United States Air Force Occupational Safety, OSHA-approved state plans, state consultation programs, and OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.   

“The start of the construction season provides opportunity for new hires, temp and seasoned workers to understand the best practices for the job,” said American Society of Safety Engineers President Michael Belcher. “We applaud NIOSH and OSHA for taking the lead on this important effort, and encourage every ASSE member in construction to help grow the number of companies participating so that together we can save lives and prevent injuries from falls.”  

The Stand-Down also coincides with the National Construction Industry Safety Week, representing a joint construction industry effort around fall protection awareness. In fact, “our group is committed to improving safety in the industry through collaboration and targeted efforts like Safety Week,” said Eric Grundke, Chairman of the National Construction Safety Executives. “Our members have actively participated in the past and we are excited to invite our subcontractors to join the effort this year.”    

NIOSH and its partners encourage all employers and workers who face fall hazards on the job to participate in this year’s Stand-Down while simultaneously recognizing the vast amount of resources and information available to them. “Fall protection manufacturers design a wide range of solutions to keep workers safe from falling to lower levels,” said Daniel K. Shipp, President, International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). Safway Group, a leader in scaffolding/access and industrial services, has also demonstrated the importance of building a strong culture of safety within a company:

“We invest in and implement many safety initiatives each year in order to prevent injuries and fatalities among our more than 10,000 employees who climb to heights each day in challenging conditions,” said Bill Hayes, President and CEO of Safway Group. “The annual National Safety Stand-Down is the highlight of our year where we plan lunch-and-learns, provide banners and giveaways, and make the Stand-Down meaningful and memorable at hundreds of our individual job-sites; looking into the faces of our employees participating in these events is very gratifying. Developing a strong culture of safety and really driving it home in the sub-cultures that exist on job sites is the single most important factor in reducing injuries and fatalities.”

The official National Safety Stand-Down web site helps plan a successful stand-down and provides details on how to: conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. It will also include a list of Stand-Down events free and open to the public, as they become available.

For more information about the 2016 National Fall Safety Stand-Down, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/. For more information on the campaign to prevent falls in construction, visit: www.stopconstructionfalls.com

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about our work visit https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.

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