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May 2, 2022

National Safety Stand Down for Falls

Whitney Mergens

Year after year, fatalities by falls continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. In 2020, 1,008 construction fatalities occurred. 351 of those fatalities were due to falls that could have been prevented. In effort to push awareness regarding fall fatalities and injuries, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has encouraged a Safety Stand-Down.

What is a Safety Stand-Down?

A Safety Stand-Down is an opportunity for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate. It is a great time to take a break and focus on fall hazards and the importance of fall prevention. Additional discussion points may include current protective measures or the company’s safety policy and goals. You can join OSHA’s Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 2nd-6th, 2022!

Why Should You Keep Focus On Falls?

It is human nature to become complacent or overconfident in safety. Additionally, all humans have various perceptions of risk of tasks being performed. One of those risks is working from heights. Scheduling activities can re-energize everyone and bring focus back to preventing falls. Certain industries such as construction present an environment that is constantly changing. You may have crews come and go on the jobsite or you may have new employees that have missed vital trainings, toolbox talks, or safety stand-downs.

Five Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls

1. Know the height at which fall protection is needed.

    a. Construction: 6 feet

    b. General Industry: 4 feet

    c. Shipyards: 5 feet

    d. Longshoring: 8 feet

2. Before starting a job, create a fall prevention plan and a rescue plan. Ensure that plan is communicated to all workers involved and all rescue equipment is readily available. Know where the fall hazards are present, what fall protection system works best, proper anchor points or where guardrails should be placed, and proper access points.

3. Provide workers with the right equipment for the job. Be aware of the potential fall distance(s) that are present and equip workers accordingly. It is important to remember various lanyards present different fall distances and may not protect the worker if misused.

4. Provide training to those working with fall protection equipment. Discuss items such as fall prevention plan, fall rescue plan, personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, and inspections.

5. Inspect equipment. When using a personal fall arrest system, all components of that system should be inspected before each use. These components include the harness, lanyard, and anchor point.

It is never too late to focus on fall prevention as it has proven to cause serious injuries or death time and time again. Use this opportunity to educate fellow employees on the importance of working safely at heights.



OSHA National Safety Stand-Down

OSHA Fall Protection

National Safety Stand-Down Poster