Construction Site

Raising Awareness Of Fall Hazards In Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and the U. S. Department of Labor has designated May 2-6, 2022, as National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. This is the ninth year of the program, which encourages employers in the construction industry to raise awareness regarding fall prevention with their employees.

OSHA developed the program in conjuncture with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), National Safety Council (NSC), National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE) and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) to help train millions of workers on fall prevention safety methods.

As part of the event, OSHA encourages organizations to use #StandDown4Safety on social media to share feedback after their events and obtain personalized participation certificates.

What is a safety ‘stand-down’

safety ‘stand-down‘ is a voluntary worksite event where employers talk to their employees about potential job hazards and the importance of workplace safety programs. National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction week presents an ideal opportunity for managers and staff to discuss fall hazards and fall prevention measures.

 

How to conduct a safety stand-down

OSHA has provided suggestions for holding a stand-down event, including the following:

  • Determine the best time to have a stand-down at your worksite, such as first thing in the morning, during a break or at lunchtime.

  • Encourage subcontractors, owners, architects and project engineers to attend the stand-down event with the site workers and management team.

  • Review your fall prevention program, including a list of what types of falls could happen on the worksite or what training and equipment need to be provided to protect workers from falls.

  • Plan an agenda for the stand-down detailing information about fall hazards, prevention methods and your company’s workplace safety programs with hands-on exercises, when possible.

  • Promote the stand-down by including the details in company newsletters, flyers, etc.

  • Perform follow-ups to check on adjustments and improvements after a stand-down.

 

Fall-related safety tips

Millions of people receive treatment for fall-related injuries in emergency rooms every year. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities for construction workers, accounting for one-third of worksite deaths in the construction industry. Almost two-thirds of fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds and ladders. Proper fall prevention strategies could help prevent these deaths.

OSHA realizes fall incidents are generally complex events that could involve many different factors. Fall protection is a strategy used to protect workers from fall hazards on worksites, including areas such as stairways, raised platforms, roofs and the use of ladders. The protection plans must work with both the human and equipment-related issues in protecting workers from fall hazards.

Fall protection safety plans

Preventing falls in the workplace often begins with having a set of written safety procedures. The plan should state the process for fall prevention training, safe equipment use and worksite inspections. Employees and managers should be involved in the fall protection program and held accountable for following workplace safety practices such as regularly inspecting fall protection equipment and replacing worn or broken equipment. Also, the fall prevention training should be reviewed and updated as needed.

Fall protection safety equipment

Employers must provide their employees with the proper equipment and fall prevention measures to avoid fall-related injuries. This might include items such as:

  • Body harnesses

  • Guardrail systems

  • Personal fall arrest systems

  • Safety net systems

  • Lanyards/Lifelines

OSHA has determined that workers must be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems, even if they are not engaged in leading-edge work. The protections must be in place if they are on a walking or working surface that is six feet or more above a level where leading edges are under construction.

 

 

Source: AmTrust