Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 366 of the 971 construction fatalities recorded in 2017 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable.
The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.
What is a Safety Stand-Down
A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on "Fall Hazards" and reinforcing the importance of "Fall Prevention". Employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards, can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company's safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about fall and other job hazards they see.
Who Can Participate
Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Down. In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. Military, other government participants, unions, employer's trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.
How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down 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.
Suggestions to Prepare a Successful Stand-Down
Try to start early. Designate a coordinator to organize the stand-down. If you have multiple work sites, identify the team that will lead the stand-down at each site.
Think about asking an outside vendor to participate in the stand-down.
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Consider reviewing your fall prevention program. This will help provide a more effective stand-down.
What types of falls could happen:
Falls from ladders
Falls from a roof
Falls from a scaffold
Falls down stairs
Falls from a structural steel
Falls through a floor or roof opening
Falls through a fragile roof surface
What needs improvement?
Is your program meeting its goals?
Are you experiencing fatalities, injuries, or near misses?
Are employees aware of the company's fall protection procedures?
What training have you provided to your employees?
Does it need revision?
What equipment have you provided to your employees?
Is better equipment available?
Develop presentations or activities that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (a worksite walkaround, equipment checks, etc.) can increase retention.
Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last. Decide if the stand-down will take place over a break, a lunch period, or some other time.
Promote the stand-down. Try to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation. Order themed giveaway items, add your company logo!
Hold your stand-down. Try to make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions.
Follow up. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes.