Construction workers across the nation will pause work and participate in the tenth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, during the week of May 1-5. Falls on construction sites are preventable, and workers and their employers have spent the last decade standing down to prove it.
Ten years also gives pause to reflect. Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for almost 40% of all construction fatalities. Construction companies with fewer than twenty employees – which account for the majority of construction companies – represent 75% of fatal falls. And the rate of Hispanic workers who died from falling to a lower level is significantly higher than their non-Hispanic counterparts.
The National Safety Stand-Down is a chance to collectively take a break during the workday and focus on fall prevention through safety demonstrations, talks, trainings, and other activities.
“The Stand-Downs are an important opportunity to further occupational health equity and emphasize worker safety at all times,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Stopping to take time in the workday to recognize existing fall safety hazards and offering demonstrations or trainings can contribute to a positive work culture and a safer working environment for all.”
The Stand-Down began ten years ago as a combined effort by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training, through the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council, working in collaboration with partners. Thousands of companies have participated in the Stand-Down over the years, reaching millions of workers.
“It’s been 10 years for the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and the message is the same but bears repeating again and again — workers should never have to risk their lives to make a living,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Douglas Parker. “The Stand-Down is an opportunity for employers to prove their commitment to their workers and provide the leadership, tools, and training to prevent falls.”
Stand-downs have occurred in every state in the U.S. and internationally. Last year, there were almost 3,500 Stand-Downs reaching over 455,000 workers, with over 170 Stand-Downs occurring overseas. Moreover, 54% of attendees reported returning for their third year or more of participating in the Stand-Down.
“We encourage employers of all sizes to participate in the Stand-Down,” said Chris Trahan Cain, executive director of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. “Our website has all of the free ideas and resources needed for employers to plan activities and show employees how to prevent falls in any situation.”
Preparation for next week’s Stand-Down is well underway. In addition to various resources in English, there is continued work on reaching those disproportionately at risk by offering Spanish-only webinars, forming new partnerships, promoting further outreach, and developing additional resources in other languages.
To conduct a successful Stand-Down, activities in both English, Spanish, and languages commonly used by workers can include:
- Drills and practices
- Toolbox talks
- Lunchtime presentations
- Webinars and video presentations
- Equipment inspections
- Trainings and demonstrations
- Infographics and signage for job site
- Resources: One-Stop Stand-Down Shop
- Request a Certificate of Participation
To further engage partnerships and raise awareness on how to prevent falls on jobsites, company or worker success stories are helpful. To send in a story, please go to: Success Story Form | Stop Construction Falls. To post any event details or attend those open to the public, please go here.
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit www.cdc.gov/niosh.