Last year, 7 out of the 9 NYC construction worker deaths reported by the Department of Buildings were caused by falls. Additionnally the DOB also reported that 194 workers were injured in fall accidents on New York City construction sites during the same period. This was a record high compared to the previous years (see previous blog). Despite increased safety training requirements for workers, fall remains the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries in the New York construction industry and nationally as well. According to the most recent statistics from the BLS 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded nationally in 2020 were fall fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable.
Preventing fall accidents is the reason why, every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in collaboration with multiple other partners involved in workplace safety such as the CPWR and NORA are organizing a National Stand Down during which employers are invited to voluntarily take a break from work and sit down with their workers to discuss or participate to activities related to fall hazards.
Anyone can participate and every year sees more and more participants from major corporate construction companies to small contractors, including the US Army and other governmental participants. All employers participating receive a certificate.
There are multiple ways to organize a stand down: from toolbox talk to safety related activities such as inspection of safety material, discussing hazard in the job, creating rescue plans and more. OSHA has an excellent website with multiple suggestions as well as material that can be downloaded by organizers. Material provided by OSHA includes posters, training guides, publications, safety guidance for ladders, scaffoldings and fall prevention in general as well as audio messages and videos. The material comes in multiple languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Russian.
More info on the Safety Stand Down here