Stand Down … For What? (Safety!)

Originally started as a two-year program begun on Workers’ Memorial Day 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-led Stand Down for Safety week – which will take place this year May 6th-10th— has become an annual tradition at the start of every construction season in the years since.

As you are likely aware, safety stand-downs are a common occurrence on job sites, most often used as a way to alert workers to a potential hazard that may affect their work for that day or going forward.  OSHA’s suggested Stand Down-related activities expand the focus beyond specific dangers to the most significant risk: falls.

Falls were responsible for more than a third of all fatalities on the job in 2017 and although the number has been slowly but surely trending downward, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And that’s not just for fall prevention: It’s always better to be safe than sorry when planning your Stand Down week activities. Thankfully, in support of #StandDown4Safety, OSHA offers numerous resources for site supervisors and employers hoping to provide participants with the best, most accurate and up-to-date information available on the subject.

In addition to a helpful collection of resources on OSHA’s website, the agency also provides a to-do list for anyone hoping to help make their presentation on fall prevention run smoothly as possible (which we’ve condensed here for your convenience):

  1. Select Your Safety Squad– OSHA recommends starting early on your presentation and the plans surrounding it, including selecting an on-site coordinator for each of the work sites which will providing the service. It is also suggested that any subcontracts, owners, architects, engineers, etc., you hope to have participate is contact as early as reasonable to insure their attendance
  2. Consider Content– Deciding what will be in your presentation is even more important than determining who will be there. OSHA suggests using #StandDown4Safety presentation as a way to re-evaluate your fall prevention program and refresh any components or goals that may be outdated or unnecessary given your specific circumstances
  3. Planning Your Presentation – While it seems obvious, deciding when and how to hold your stand-down for safety may be pivotal in determining how effective the advice provided ends up being. But no matter who is there or what is discussed, the most direct way to insure #StandDown4Safety programming is reaching its target audience to is by promoting it, which may (according to OSHA) include serving snacks.
  4. Follow-Up– Worker safety is an every-second priority on a job site, and as such, there’s no “bad time” to follow up on the lessons learned during your stand-down presentations but regularly refreshing workers on such issues can help drive down preventable injuries and death, which should be the goal of any worksite now and into the future

Hopefully these tips and tricks provide a plan of action for your team as they prepare for #StandDown4Safety week, but be sure to follow us for more suggestions regarding worker safety through the week of activities and into the future.