Falls claim hundreds of lives each year in the U.S. construction industry, which is enough to give it a spot on OSHA’s “Fatal Four” list. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls claimed 338 lives in FY 2018, 34% of all construction deaths that year.
Most of these falls and fatalities are entirely preventable. For the past six years, OSHA has held an annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls to raise awareness about fall prevention, and by extension, save lives.
|Note: OSHA’s Stand-Down to Prevent Falls has been postponed due to COVID-19. Refer to OSHA’s website for updates.|
What is a safety stand-down?
A safety stand-down is time that you voluntarily set aside to address employees about workplace hazards, in this case, fall hazards. A few details:
- Any industry can participate. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, but trades including manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation all have fall hazards on the job site.
OSHA also notes that leaders in the general industry, U.S. Military, other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers, have all participated in past years.
- No business is too small to participate. It doesn’t matter if you have five employees or five thousand — as long as you can spread knowledge about fall prevention, you can participate.
- No safety stand-down is exactly like the next. How you choose to facilitate your safety stand-down is entirely up to you. For example, you could set aside a whole or half-day dedicated to fall prevention training, hold daily toolbox talks focused on fall hazards for a week straight, or require your workers to complete an online training module.
To help you guide a successful stand-down, we put together a list of resources that will help you engage your workforce.
Resources for planning your stand-down
- Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful Stand-Down [OSHA]
- Fall Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Plan for Employers [OSHA]
- Campaign Fact Sheet | English | Spanish | Polish | Russian [OSHA]
- Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry Webinar [The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)]
- Changing the Game in Safety Performance: The Leader’s Role [American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)]
- Making the Most of Your Fall Protection Program [ASSP]
- Susan Harwood Training Grant materials for Fall Prevention [OSHA]
Resources for sharing your stand-down
- Campaign Poster | English | Spanish [OSHA]
- Use the hashtag #StandDown4Safety on social media to share pictures, stories, and more [OSHA]
Resources for facilitating fall prevention training
- Prevention Videos (v-Tools): Construction Hazards [OSHA]
- You’re a Pro: Falls from Formwork [Worker’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, Canada (WorkSafeBC)]
- Fall Protection Can Save Your Life [WorkSafeBC]
- The Most Dangerous Tool | Ladder Safety Training, OSHA Rules, Fall Protection, Workplace Safety [Oregon OSHA]
- Fundamentals of Fall Protection – Full Length Training Course [Oregon OSHA]
- Safety stories
- Hispanic Roofer’s Fall Protection Failed Causing Him to Fall 29.91 Feet to His Death [CDC]
- A Simple Task — Fatal Ladder Fall [CPWR]
- Lack of Fall Protection Measures Place Workers at Increased Risk [National Safety Council (NSC)]
- Preventing Falls Through Skylights [California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE)]
- Preventing Falls in the Solar Industry [FACE]
- Carpenter Falls off Ladder, Then Through Opening in Floor [WorkSafeBC]
- Toolbox talks [Alliance Program – OSHA]
- Fatality Map [CPWR]
- Spot the Hazard PowerPoint [CPWR]
- Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator [NIOSH]
- Infographics for the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction | English | Spanish [CDC]
- Ladders 101: Choosing the Right Ladder [American Ladder Institute (ALI)]
After your stand-down
Educating yourself and your workforce on fall prevention shouldn’t stop after your stand-down. Here are more resources that will help you learn about, create a plan for, and educate employees on fall prevention.
Resources for learning about and creating a plan for fall prevention
- Fall Protection in Construction [OSHA]
- Protecting Roofing Workers [OSHA]
- Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely – Booklet | PDF (Spanish and English) | EPUB | MOBI [OSHA]
- Safe Use of Extension Ladders – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Safe Use of Job-made Wooden Ladders – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Safe Use of Stepladders – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Ladder Jack Scaffolds – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Narrow Frame Scaffolds – Fact Sheet | HTML | PDF [OSHA]
- Tube and Coupler Scaffolds – Erection and Use – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Tube and Coupler Scaffolds – Planning and Design – Fact Sheet [OSHA]
- Scaffolding Booklet | HTML | PDF [OSHA]
- Scaffold eTool [OSHA]
- Fall protection
- Preventing Swing Falls in Bridge Work – Fact Sheet [American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)]
- Selecting Lanyards and Connectors for Personal Fall Arrest Systems in Bridge Work – Fact Sheet [ARTBA]
- All Things Fall Protection Podcast [Diversified Fall Protection]
Resources that help protect employees every day
- Ladder Safety App (Android) (Apple) [NIOSH]
- Fall Protection Plan Template [CPWR]
- Fall Protection Harness Hazard Alert Card | English | Spanish [CPWR]
- Scaffolding Hazard Alert Card | English | Spanish [CPWR]
- Ladder Hazard Alert Card | English | Spanish [CPWR]
These resources will get you a long way, but nothing can replace the efficacy of a full fall prevention program. If you need assistance putting together a written program or training your workforce on- or offline, reach out to our health and safety team at (906) 228-5125.