Why We’re Standing up for the Stand-Down

The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is May 2-6th

At FIXFAST USA, we’re in the business of fall prevention equipment for the construction industry. So it’s not much of a mystery why we’re jumping on the bandwagon with The US Department of Labor National Safety Stand-Down Days, held this year May 2-6th. We’ll be spending time talking to our staff about the latest in fall safety regulations, and making a big communication point.

Statistics Reveal Sobering Facts

Here’s why you should, too. According to OSHA’s statistics from 2014, there were 874 construction workers killed on the job last year. Of them, 337 were caused by construction falls. If we were able to wipeout falls, we could eradicate nearly half of all the construction site deaths in this country, and, I’m betting, nearly half of the injuries, too.

Certainly, having the right equipment is a critical part of saving your employees from falls. But continual training and education are just as important. Familiarity can breed complacency –employees who have been working for years with fall prevention equipment can easily grow complacent, and take shortcuts.

Refresher Training is Important

Any company that employs or represents construction/maintenance workers should have an event, including residential construction contractors, sub-and-independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the US Military, unions, employer’s trade associations, and institutes representing worker interests, as a start.

Tips for holding a successful Stand Down event:

The Department of Labor has a website with specifics on that matter. But here are some of our thoughts on it at FIXFAST USA:

  • Have a review of your fall program – Take a moment to consider what types of falls can happen on your property. Do you have the appropriate harnesses to prevent ladder falls, roof falls, scaffolding falls, stair falls, falls off structural steel beams, falls through faulty floors or falls through fragile roof surfaces? The rules for what equipment should be used for each task is clearly spelled out by OSHA. Do you have enough equipment to accommodate all the employees who need them, even the newer hires? What kind of condition is your fall prevention equipment in? Now is the time to.
  • Schedule a convenient time to make a presentation – Every employee who needs or works with fall prevention equipment should be called to a special meeting where plant safety procedures are discussed. Many companies provide staff with free lunch or breakfast and do a discussion over the break. The whole program could last less than an hour, and adequately cover the material.
  • Take the opportunity to explain the whys and hows of your safety program. Why are guardrails and other structures placed the way they are? How has the company worked to be in compliance? What is each employee’s role in keeping compliance with OSHA standards? Quiz employees on their safety awareness. Walk them through how the old equipment works while they are there, and show them how any new equipment might differ.

The principle is very simple. Safety starts with training and grows with vigilance. Do your part to stand up for safety this year. You’ll be in good company!

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