Every year, OSHA holds a National Safety Stand-Down in the effort to prevent fall-related accidents in the construction industry. The sixth annual stand-down has been set for May 6 to 10, during which time employers throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. are encouraged to sit down with their employees and discuss fall hazards, safety policies and employee concerns.
Employers are also advised to provide safety demonstrations and fall prevention training. They should make sure their employees have the appropriate fall protection equipment for a given job (whether it be on a roof, scaffolding or a ladder).
OSHA has various tools available, as well as educational materials in English and Spanish, for employers who wish to participate in the stand-down. The safety organization expects that thousands of job sites and millions of workers worldwide will observe the event.
Among the various OSHA resources is a series of videos on how to address the hazards of floor openings, skylights, re-roofing work and bridge decking. The association also has a fact sheet on scaffolding and ladder safety. Employers may get a few ideas for toolbox talks through OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide.
Employers can give feedback after the stand-down and even receive a personalized certificate of participation. OSHA has partnered with NIOSH and CPWR, among other organizations, in preparing the event.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of death in the construction industry. If an employee survives a fall, they may be left with serious conditions requiring long-term treatment. If they file a workers’ compensation claim, they may be reimbursed for medical bills as well as a portion of their lost wages. Legal counsel could help with the process. If the employer denies payment, a lawyer may be helpful in mounting an appeal.