Prevention of Construction Worker Falls and Injuries are Focus of “National Safety Stand-Down Week”
Federal health officials are participating in a national construction industry safety campaign, which is designed to prevent workplace falls, which have been one of the leading causes of injury and death in the construction industry over the last several years.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the sixth annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction campaign on May 6, encouraging small and large construction firms to speak directly to their employees about job hazards and protective measures to raise awareness.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the United States has more than 680,000 licensed construction companies, which employ more than seven million people who experience potentially dangerous safety hazards every day.
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Nearly 1,000 work-related deaths are recorded in the construction industry annually, with falls accounting for approximately one-third of the total number of fatalities. Data released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded in 2016 indicates 370 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded were the result of an employee falling, and 2017 data found 366 of the 971 construction fatalities were fall-related.
The campaign is a collaborative effort including the CDC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). All involved agencies will provide a multitude of safety resources to employers in the construction industry to make raising safety awareness easier.
The primary focus of the campaign is to encourage commercial and residential construction companies of all sizes, sub and independent contractors, highway construction companies, U.S. Military and other general trades and unions to voluntarily hold a stand-down meeting by taking a break to talk solely about fall hazards and fall prevention.
Resources available to these companies and safety managers include dozens of safety guidelines that include posters, infographics, videos, hard hat stickers, hazard alert cards and the NIOSH ladder safety app designed to improve the safety of tasks requiring the use of an extension and step ladder.
Specifically, NIOSH and CPWR co-developed a series of infographics that pertain to preventing falls from equipment, skylights and holes, and how to properly use personal fall arrest systems that could save employee lives.
OSHA’s 2017 construction worker deaths were largely related to four types of accidents. Those accidents include falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions and being caught in between equipment or objects. BLS and OSHA found that eliminating these “fatal four” could save more than 500 lives every year.
The campaign is set to run from May 6, through May 10, 2019. In additional to the free online resources, the agencies will be hosting a series of free seminars across the nation for employers and employees to join. OSHA has published the events on the website to conveniently locate local seminars.
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