As a construction professional, you already know that safety is of the utmost importance in the industry. From the onboarding process with new crew members to safety guidelines and policies, keeping crews and clients safe on the job should be an integral part of every new project plan. In 2014 alone, OSHA reported nearly 4,700 worker fatalities on the job, and out of private industry worker fatalities, approximately 20% were in construction (source:OSHA). What was the leading cause of these fatalities? The answer: Falls. According to OSHA, Falls are the #1 cause of worker fatalities. With such daunting figures, it is no wonder that OSHA dedicates one week each year to the National Safety Stand-Down (May 2-6, 2016).
Although your company may have all safety measures fine-tuned and in place, OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down is a great way to refresh crews on Fall Protection (and other safety guidelines), as well as inform clients and the public of the safety measures you take on a daily basis to protect your workers. The ultimate goal of the week is to educate and reach 5 million workers nationwide with tools and knowledge on fall protection and prevention. Each year, construction contractors and other industry professionals take part in educating workers and the community to help reduce risk and falls on the job.
Here are a few ideas and resources that you can use to plan your participation in the National Safety Stand-Down in May:
- Hold a Seminar – Along with teaching and refreshing your own crews, consider offering a free and open workshop to the public. This would allow you to maximize your reach and show the community that you care about worker safety and the industry as a whole. Focusing on fall protection, the seminar can be as simple as a workshop on your property or as elaborate as a presentation at a community center or public hall. For larger events, consider a corporate partner or co-sponsor to help spread the word and build public awareness.
- Make it Social – Get in on the safety buzz in social networks. Share OSHA’s videos, or create your own video to post on YouTube, emphasizing the importance of fall protection. You can also easily share some of OSHA’s fact sheets (see below) or guidelines, as well as use hashtags such as #StopFalls, #OSHA and #StandDown4Safety in your posts and tweets.
- Toolbox Talks – In addition to your planned staff and crew meetings, you may want to schedule a toolbox talk for one or all days of the Safety Stand-Down. Offering refreshers on fall protection on one day could be coupled with another day covering fall hazards and prevention.
- Conduct Inspections – Along with toolbox talks, make the week of May 2nd-6th a time where you conduct random site and/or equipment inspections. You can inform your crews or conduct impromptu on-the-job inspections that are designed to educate rather than intimidate. Random inspections are a great way to gain insight on strengths and weaknesses in your safety program and compliance. Equipment inspections can also be useful in working with crews to ensure that all equipment is properly inspected, maintained, and stored before and after use.
- Share Your Story – Along with the option of sharing your story or suggestions with OSHA, consider sharing your program with others in the industry. If you have a safety program or toolbox talk that has proven successful, consider presenting it at a local building association meeting or a partnering trade school. Sharing successful safety programs is a great way to give back to the industry and protect other workers in the future. Additionally, through a few powerful press releases, you can also use this time to exhibit your expertise in safety as well as make a greater impact in the community.
OSHA offers a variety of resources from videos and worksheets to posters and publications. It is easy to take part in the National Safety Stand-Down. Make use of the resources available through OSHA, and keep the momentum going with regular safety check-ins and trainings throughout the year.
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