This spring (May 4-15), OSHA is taking a stand on preventing falls in construction. Actually, they’re taking a stand-down. Here’s how they describe it:
“Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 279 of the 806 construction fatalities recorded in 2012. Those deaths were preventable.”
Want more information? Visit the Stop Falls Stand-Down website. Ready to promote the event in your workplace? Great! Read on. And note: you don’t have to be a construction company to participate in this event.
Six ways to promote the OSHA National Safety Stand-Down in your workplace
- Have a toolbox talk. Schedule a break in the workday for an informal group discussion. Set a relevant, safety-related topic in advance. If you can think of more than one topic, hold multiple toolbox talks over the two-week period. Tip: Serve snacks. It helps increase participation.
- Develop a fall protection plan. Your plan should be in writing, and each of your workers should have a copy (or know where to find one). Your plan should be present on-site before anyone engages in an activity that could lead to a fall, and it should include all relevant information and procedures: hazards, fall-related equipment, safety protocols and a rescue plan.
- Conduct an inspection. Now is a good time to review the ladders, scaffolding and personal fall arrest systems that you use regularly. Make sure they’re appropriate to the work you’re doing, that they’re in good condition, and that your team is using them properly.
- Discuss your hazards. Most fall-related injuries can be traced to unobstructed openings in the side or floor of a work area, improper scaffold construction, protruding rebar that’s not guarded, and the misuse of ladders. Make sure your team is aware of the most common fall hazards so they can identify them and address them.
- Host a public event. Do your part to educate construction company owners and managers in your area. Choose a fall-related topic, and organize a talk or Q&A on the subject. Reach out to business owners in your industry and invite them to attend.
- Follow up on what you learn. Whenever you identify a hazard you didn’t know about, or you become aware of something you could do to protect the safety of your team, make a plan to address it.
For a quick read on why fall prevention is so important, and what it means to practice safety in this area, take a look at this Fact Sheet from OSHA. Also, learn more about Higginbotham’s construction insurance coverage and construction risk management services.