The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) encourages safety professionals and employers to raise awareness and participate in the 11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction on May 6-10. The observance is part of a year-round campaign led by the OSHA. Falls from height are the leading cause of death for construction workers, with more than 350 fatalities and 20,000 serious injuries occurring each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers face risks on roofs, above floor openings and even at lower levels.

“No matter the job, worker injuries and fatalities are preventable,” said fall protection expert Thom Kramer, P.E., CSP, vice president of finance on ASSP’s Board of Directors. “Companies can create safe environments by using prevention through design principles, providing the right equipment and training everyone involved. It’s also a great idea to implement a fall protection program that follows our recently updated Z359.2 consensus standard.”

Construction companies can recognize the stand-down that week by briefly stopping work and giving a toolbox talk; performing a safety equipment inspection; conducting a rescue planning exercise; or discussing job-specific hazards. It’s important that all workers be outfitted with proper-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE).

ASSP encourages the use of #StandDown4Safety in social media to share stories and recommendations during the weeklong observance, which coincides with National Construction Safety Week. It has helped train more than 10 million workers on fall prevention since its inception in 2014. Organizations of all sizes have participated over the years, including the U.S. military, highway construction companies and residential contractors.

OSHA offers several resources for conducting a safety stand-down, including infographics and articles about construction risks and fall protection; publications about ladder safety; fall protection videos; and hardhat stickers and hazard alert cards. Materials on working safely at height are available in English and Español. “Safety and health professionals should encourage their organizations to take an active role in the stand-down,” Kramer said. “And sharing how your company is participating may inspire others to get involved.”

OSHA’s many partners in the stand-down include ASSP, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Safety Council.

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