WASHINGTON (PAI) – In a follow-up to Workers Memorial Day, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will stage the largest occupational safety event ever next month.
The agency designated the two-week period from May 4-15 as National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls In Construction Weeks. Its goal is to educate workers and to prevent all types of construction fall hazards.
The agency expects unions, construction companies, contractors, trade associations, industry employers and more to participate.
“Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety,” OSHA’s website says. “This Stand-Down focuses on ‘Fall Hazards’ and reinforcing the importance of ‘Fall Prevention.'”
OSHA wants companies to conduct their own safety stand-downs by “taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime during May 4-15, 2015.”
During the Cleveland Construction Safety Day program in February, Region V OSHA Deputy Regional Administrator Bill Donovan spoke extensively about fall data. He said that in Ohio, falls cause the largest percentage of workplace deaths (34 percent). That rate is similar to national statistics about deaths and injuries on the job.
While fall fatalities are trending downward, Donovan urged that workers and employers must pay attention to ladders and their stability.
“The most common tool is the ladder. Check ladders. Make sure they’re in good working condition, set right, and it is the correct ladder (to use). I can’t emphasize enough ladder safety on the jobsite,” stressed Donovan.
During the 2014 Safety Stand-Down, more than a million workers across the U.S. took part in fall prevention awareness. This year, OSHA wants that number to triple. More information on the stand-down is at www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/index.html.
Matt Jaworski writes for The Ohio Labor Citizen.