There is no disputing that the construction industry has made remarkable strides in the area of worker safety over the last decade thanks to advancements in protective technology, improved worksite procedures and enhanced government oversight.
Despite this progress, the fact remains that there are still areas in which significant progress can — and must — be made. For example, consider the issue of falls from elevation, which ranked as the leading cause of fatalities among construction workers as recently as fiscal year 2014.
Indeed, falls from elevation accounted for an astounding 337 of the 874 recorded construction fatalities, while the failure to abide by fall prevention safety standards was among the top ten most cited OSHA violations during this timeframe.
In recognition of this reality, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration together with the National Occupational Research Agenda and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health have joined forces to sponsor a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction from May 2-6.
For those uncertain as to what a Safety Stand-Down is, it’s a nationwide initiative designed to raise awareness about a pressing safety issue in the construction industry.
While participation is not mandatory, everyone from construction firms of all size and residential contractors to trade associations and unions are encouraged to schedule breaks during the workday to discuss the issue (i.e., falls) directly with their employees, and/or conduct safety-related activities (equipment inspections, development of rescue plans, etc.).
While some might question the efficacy of a Safety Stand-Down geared toward fall prevention, consider that last year’s campaign saw more than 2.5 million construction workers receive some manner of training. In fact, OSHA’s goal for the 2016 Safety Stand-Down is to reach 5 million construction workers, which is over 50 percent of all construction workers in the U.S.
Here’s hoping this happens …
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions or concerns relating to any sort of construction law matter.