Stand-Down For What?
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees.
These deaths were preventable.
In an attempt to raise fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries Pinnacle Career Institute will be participating in the National Safety Stand-Down.
What is a safety Stand-Down?
A safety stand down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Luckily for us this is a daily piece of our workplace environment in school as well as in field. The importance can’t be stressed enough to take a momentary break from normal workplace conversations as well as activities for the opportunity for employees to talk about management of job hazards which could be possible to face. This National Safety Stand Down Event is to reinforce the importance of “Fall Prevention.”
Falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities. In 2021 there were almost 40% falls from elevation contributing to all construction fatalities.
There are facts which should be followed by all employers which can prevent deaths;
Together if we focus on these facts, we will factually be better at protecting workers from fall hazards. Communicating the theme for the 10th annual, 2023 National Safety Stand-Down is, “Strong Voices, Safe Choices.” Worker Participation is essential for workers to be and feel safe on their jobs.
Who can Participate?
Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Down. In the past, general industry employers in the United States, especially in the trade industries, were the only ones who pushed this event but now it’s a wide array of workplaces who are joining in the effort.
OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist in this effort who include:
How-To Conduct a Safety Stand-Down
There are a few suggestions to prepare for a successful stand-down:
There should be a designated coordinator to organize the stand-down as well as a designated space in which the team can lead the stand-down
Think About Asking Your Owner or Subcontractor
This could lead to a more effective stand-down
Review Your Current Fall Prevention Program
Develop Presentations or Activities Which Meet Your Needs
What information will be BEST for your workplace and employees and how can this information be communicated about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Remember that retention can be increased by hands-on exercises.
Decide When to Hold the Stand-Down and How Long it Will Last
For example, the Stand-Down could take place over a meal period or a break.
Promote the Stand-Down
Perhaps serving snacks could increase attendance. Find any way to create interest to employees.
Create a positive and interactive experience. Encourage suggestions as well as let your employees talk about their experiences in order to improve the participation annually.
Consider making any changes that could improve your fall prevention program if you learned anything new.
Developing rescue plans or discussing job specific hazards by taking the previously discussed break from daily workplace activities. It is also essential to conduct safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing those job hazards. Make sure to include how falls can be prevented; PLAN ahead to get the job done safely, PROVIDE the right equipment, TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely.
Why Does OSHA Stress This Enforcement?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is authorized by the Occupational Safety Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) to assure employers provide safe and healthful conditions for working men and women free of recognized hazards and by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education and technical assistance. OSHA sets enforcement policies and targeted inspection programs in order to properly respond to fatalities, catastrophes and complaints. These intervention strategies are designed to deter, assist and work together with employers and employees in order to reduce workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
OSHA Inspection Activity
OSHA is committed to strong, fair and effective enforcement of safety and health requirements in the workplace. Inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers are experienced, well-trained industrial hygienists and safety professionals whose goal is to assure compliance with OSHA requirements and help employers and workers reduce on the job hazards, injuries and deaths. In 2021 OSHA conducted almost 25,000 inspections including over half of these being unvrogramed inspections which includes employee complaints, injuries, fatalities, and referrals. There are about 45% of these inspections which are programmed inspections that are focused OSHA’s enforcement resources towards industries and operations where known hazards exist.
OSHA has jurisdiction over approximately 7 million worksites. The agency seeks to focus its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in the following order of priority;
When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. OSHA must issue a citation and proposed penalty within six months of the violation’s occurrence. Any citation will include a description of the alleged violation, list any proposed penalties and give a deadline for correcting the alleged hazards. There are multiple violation categories which citations may include:
There is a policy in place for small employers which reduces the proposed penalty based on the gravity of the alleged violation. This policy is typically referred to as a “good faith adjustment.”
When there is a citation to an employer it also offers the employer an opportunity to conduct an informal conference with the OSHA Area Director to discuss citations, penalties, abatement dates, or any other information dating back to the original inspection. It is possible for the agency and the employer to resolve the matter in the form of a settlement agreement in order to eliminate the hazard. OSHA’s primary goal is to simply correct any hazards in the workplace and maintaining compliance opposed to issuing any citations.
There are a number of rights which belong to workers:
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. The role of OSHA is to help ensure that these conditions for working women and men in America are essential by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, assistance and education.
For more information visit www.osha.gov/PreventFallsNow or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.
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