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OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down

OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down

Since 2012, OSHA has implemented the National Fall Protection Stand-Down, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of fall hazards on construction worksites. Safety Stand-Down events — from trainings and meetings to equipment inspections, presentations and toolbox talks — start important conversations about fall safety. Utilizing creative and interactive methods, Stand-Down is designed to focus on fall protection in the workplace and ultimately prevent injuries and save lives.

Any employee who participates in any Safety Stand-Down activity can register on OSHA's website and receive an official Certificate of Participation signed by the United States Secretary of Labor.

Why Is Fall Protection Important?

For decades, fall protection standard violations have topped OSHA's annual list of most-cited violations, often taking the No. 1 spot. According to OSHA and the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. In fact, they are the deadliest hazard in OSHA's Fatal Four, the top four causes of construction deaths.

The deaths and other nonfatal injuries caused by falls are considered to be very preventable; in most investigations, accidents were caused by the violation of established standards, and utilizing the proper training, equipment or prevention procedures could have mitigated tragic consequences. Because of the sheer volume of incidents each year, fall protection is an incredibly important topic to spotlight during the annual Safety Stand-Down.

How Can Falls Be Prevented?

Employers for construction worksites are required to train workers thoroughly on fall hazards and fall protection, and Fall Protection standards have been set in place by OSHA to detail the many methods of fall prevention.

Some of OSHA's fall prevention advice prescribes these three steps to prevent falls and save lives.

  1. Plan ahead to get the job done safely.
  2. Provide the right fall protection equipment to construction workers.
  3. Train everyone to identify fall hazards and use fall protection equipment safely.

To learn more about the three basic rules of fall protection, click to read more about preventing falls in the workplace.

Ideas For Safety Stand-Down Participation

A "Safety Stand-Down" is any event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Companies across the country have chosen many different methods of participating in the Fall Protection Stand-Down, and OSHA provides some great resources and suggestions for businesses to develop their own Stand-Down activities, as well as links to an Events calendar that lists free, public, local events.

Here are some ideas on how you can join the conversation and participate in a Safety Stand-Down:

  • Review your company's Fall Protection program.
    • Does the program cover all types of falls?
    • Are you meeting your fall protection goals? What could be improved?
    • Are employees aware of fall protection procedures?
    • Is your equipment up-to-date and up-to-standards?
  • Inspect all fall protection equipment.
    • Check the manuals or websites of your equipment manufacturer. They will include information about how to inspect the equipment and also when to replace equipment due to age or overuse.
    • Put together equipment inspection instructions for workers to use throughout the year.
  • Have workers complete Fall Protection training.
  • Develop hands-on activities to increase information retention.
    • Worksite walks with hazard identification
    • Equipment checks
    • Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) demonstrations
  • Encourage active participation from workers.
    • Offer rewards for training and participation in Safety Stand-Down activities.
    • Conduct discussions with employees about their concerns or ideas.
    • Identify an OSHA Stand Down committee to address fall protection issues and initiatives throughout the year.

The date of the National Safety Stand-Down changes each year, so check OSHA's event page to learn more about this year's event. If you miss the week of the Safety Stand-Down, don't worry! You can explore the Stand-Down ideas above anytime and revisit key topics during next year's event. The purpose of Safety Stand-Down is to generate conversations year-round about fall protection and prevention in your company.

OSHA's National Safety Stand-Down Infographic