Each year, the National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fatalities and injuries in the workplace. Falls from elevation are the leading cause of serious workplace-related injury or death in the construction industry, accounting for 37 percent of total fatalities. But, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH¹) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA²), most of these deaths are preventable.
What Is the National Safety Stand-Down?
The National Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary opportunity for employers to speak directly to their workers about fall hazards. The event encourages small and large business employers in both the public and private sectors to stop work and dedicate time to openly discussing fall hazards and how to prevent them with their workers.The national safety awareness campaign is a combined effort spearheaded by OSHA, NIOSH, and The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR³).
When Is the National Safety Stand-Down?
The National Safety Stand-Down is held annually in May. The 10th Annual National Safety Stand-Down is May 1-5, 2023.
How to Participate in OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down
Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk. Other safety activities include conducting equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime during the annual event. OSHA’s Events page allows employers and employees to find events that are free and open to the public in their area. They also encourage you to share your Stand-Down story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandDown4Safety.
National Safety Stand-Down Resources
Thousands of employers and millions of employees participate each year in the annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. To guide the efforts, OSHA has developed the official National Safety Stand-Down website, which includes resources for conducting successful stand-downs all the way to the local level. The website offers access to free training and education resources in English and Spanish, as well as a personalized certificate of participation. They provide highlights and recaps from past stand-downs that offer inspiration or ideas for how to approach this event with employees.
How to Reduce Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace
Reducing slips, trips, and falls is a key component of workplace safety, which is why OSHA has developed this annual safety event. To aid employers in setting up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floor and walls, they have developed a set of guidelines to target these specific hazards.
Workplace Safety Guidelines From OSHA
OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at varying elevations depending on the industry:
- General Industry: 4 feet
- Shipyards: 5 feet
- Construction: 6 feet
- Longshoring: 8 feet
Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment, employers must provide guardrails, toe-boards, and other measures to prevent falls or injury. Other means of fall prevention may be required on certain jobs, and can include safety harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings, handrails, or signage.
In addition to specific fall-related guidance, OSHA requires employers to:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
Use Visual Cues for Safety & Fall Prevention
The right approach to fall prevention depends on your application: While handrails, guardrails, and toe guards prevent employees from falling off the edge of a platform or into a hole, there are other instances in which slips or falls may be a concern, such as slippery or uneven flooring, the presence of ice, or unexpected moisture. In these instances, visual cues are a key component in preventing falls in the workplace. Clear, easy-to-spot signage indicates to employees where hazards may exist, helping them avoid unnecessary injury.
Here are a few of our top visual cues available, relating to preventing falls.
Stop-Painting offers safety signs designed to provide these important visual cues in the workplace, and also offers options to create on-site employee training and safety demonstrations. Visual cues and signs serve as constant reminders of the safety protocols required by employees and provide clear, specific instructions for staff and visitors alike. Order safety signs and floor marking tape with standard messaging from our inventory, or use our online custom sign tool to create the exact visual cues you’re looking for.
Participate in the National Safety Stand-Down each year to raise awareness about the importance of fall prevention in the workplace, then audit or implement your guardrails, signage, and other visual safety cues to ensure employee compliance. Explore our Resource Guide for more safety solutions.