Fall Safety Stand-Down Expanded to Two Weeks
More than 1 million workers participated in last year's stand-down, and the partner organizations are hoping to have stand-downs staged in all 50 states and around the world during May 4-15.
Organizations that joined forces last year for a very successful national stand-down focused on preventing construction falls–OSHA, NIOSH, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)–are also taking part in the second annual stand-down, set for May 4-15, 2015. They've expanded it two weeks and added partners to what was a very successful start, with companies employing more than 1 million workers participating in the 2014 stand-down to prevent fall fatalities. Additional partners for this year's stand-down include the American Society of Safety Engineers, National Construction Safety Executives, the U.S. Air Force, the National Safety Council, OSHA-approved state plans, state consultation programs, and OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.
Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry; nearly 3,500 construction workers in the United States have died from falls during the past decade, and lack of fall protection remained the most frequently cited violation among construction standards for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2014.
"No child should lose a parent, no wife should lose a husband, and no worker should lose their life in a preventable fall," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "The stand-down serves as an important opportunity for work sites to recognize the hazards that cause those falls and train employers and workers how to avoid them so that these tragedies can be prevented once and for all."
"Fatal falls and injuries impact workers in all kinds of jobs across the country. It's a broad problem that takes a terrible toll on workers and their families," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Given the tremendous response we've received, it's clear that this is an important issue to a great number of people across this nation. I know it is to me and all my colleagues here at the department, which is why we are so pleased to work towards preventing these tragedies through innovative and collaborative efforts like the stand-down."
"With the economy on the rebound and housing starts on the rise, now is the time to for all of us to renew our commitment to sending workers home safe every night," said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Last year’s stand-down showed us what employers and workers sharing that commitment can accomplish. Responsible employers understand that safety is not a luxury, it is a necessity."
Universities, labor organizations, and community and faith-based groups have begun scheduling 2015 stand-downs in all 50 states and around the world. "Almost 5,000 stand-downs were reported to OSHA last year, with participation in all 50 states and even some internationally," said CPWR Executive Director Pete Stafford. "Building on last year's success, coupled with the addition of new industry partners, I'm very encouraged that, together, we can reduce the number of fatal falls, which annually account for approximately one-third of all U.S. construction fatalities."
The stand-down also coincides with ASSE's North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (May 3-9) and the National Construction Industry Safety Week (May 4-8). "Beyond fall protection, the participating construction and engineering firms are driving home the message that everyone should go home at the end of every shift without incident," said Charlie Bacon, chair of National Construction Industry Safety Week. "Collectively, the industry is raising awareness and taking a stand around eliminating all injuries within the construction process; we are very pleased that NIOSH is hosting a stand-down during the construction industry's safety week for 2015."
The newly launched 2015 National Safety Stand-Down website provides details on how to conduct a stand-down, receive a certificate of participation, and access free education and training resources, fact sheets, and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. It will also include a list of stand-down events that are free and open to the public, as they become available.