ASSP has introduced fall protection courses and new online safety resources to help safety professionals recognize the eighth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction on May 3-7. The campaign is led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which encourages construction companies to join the weeklong observance by promoting awareness, training and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat one of the industry’s greatest risks that caused more than 400 workers to die in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Falls from height are the leading cause of death for construction workers,” said fall safety expert Thom Kramer,P.E., CSP, a member of the ASSP Board of Directors. “Workers can face risks on roofs, above floor openings and even at lower levels or when using PPE that deceptively feels safer. But no matter the task, workplace fatalities are preventable.”
In participating in the stand-down, companies can briefly stop work and present a site-wide toolbox talk or conduct another safety activity such as a safety equipment inspection, rescue planning exercise or discussion of job-specific hazards. ASSP’s new online Fall Protection Toolbox offers resources employers need to identify and control risks, provide relevant training and protect workers at height. The toolbox contains free webinars, articles and podcasts from industry experts as well as online instructor-led or self-paced safety courses. Safety professionals can also download a free copy of The Fall Protection Code that outlines the complete series of Z359 standards.
Fall protection courses offered in the toolbox include Managed Fall Protection starting May 13, Effective Fall Protection Programs starting May 18 and Fall Protection Equipment available now. ASSP encourages organizations and safety professionals to use #StandDown4Safety in social media posts to help spread valuable recommendations during the five-day observance, which coincides with National Construction Safety Week and has helped train nearly 10 million workers on fall prevention since its inception in 2014. The campaign aims to assist employers in talking with workers about fall hazards and safety in general. Organizations of all sizes have participated over the years, including the U.S. military and highway construction companies.
OSHA offers resources for conducting a safety stand-down, including infographics and articles about construction risks and fall protection; publications about ladder safety; fall safety videos; and free learning resources. “Safety professionals should encourage their organizations to take part in the stand-down,” Kramer said. “Sharing how your company is participating will inspire others to get involved.”