Fall prevention remains to be the most common fatal injury in the workplace. It’s no surprise, then, that poor fall prevention standards are the most commonly OSHA cited incidents. Can you blame OSHA for being so iron-clad about their policies? According to a 2013 report, the construction industry saw over 890 deaths and a whopping 18,310 injuries from 2008-2010 due to falls alone.
It’s no wonder that over the years OSHA standards have become more detail-oriented. From positioning ladders to proper guard-rails on scaffolding, there are measures set in place to save lives. Aside from the strict standards we must follow to keep workers safe, there have been events and resources popping up recently – ones especially focused on helping us build a safer workplace.
The “Fall Safety Stand-Down” is a great example of what we can do when we all work together. The two-week program focuses on fall prevention standards, training, and demonstrations, and it’s already proven to be quite a success. In 2014, over 1 million workers and employers got together to learn, interact, and create a safer workplace. That’s over 5,000 companies (from massive operations to small businesses) involved in one safety event.
OSHA plans to have an even more successful year in 2015, and from May 4-15, they’re hoping to reach a whopping 3 million worker participants (or 20,000 companies) to make an even bigger impact. According to their brief report, OSHA claims that 3 million would be enough to reach nearly 4 out of 10 workers.
The safety stand-down is a DIY event in which employers dedicate a block of time — whether it’s over a lunch break or better part of a workday — to talk about safety and demonstrate techniques for a safer workplace. Some employers opt for a direct approach with safety inspection demonstrations while others have found success with a “water-cooler” safety conversation. It doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” your effort is; a simple hour-long discussion can save lives, believe it or not.
If you’d rather leave the education in the hands of safety professionals, OSHA is also holding regional events that anyone can attend. The events are free and – if a company is so inclined – they can even host their own event in their region. Last year, some regional events (like the NASCAR speedway renovation) gathered over 500 workers in the same area to talk about fall safety. That’s 500 workers further educated on fall safety in one afternoon.
While maintaining the existing health and safety culture of a workplace is extremely important, it is only through pursuing improvement in those safety attitudes, processes, and practices that your organization can be viewed as an innovator within its industry. The Safety Stand-Down is just one example of the proactive measures an EHS leader can take to create a safer work environment. For more ways to positively impact the environmental, health, and safety culture of your workplace, visit the Field iD website.