Almost all occupations carry some sort of fall hazard in the workplace. Simply walking across a wet floor or climbing a ladder to change a light bulb could result in a fall injury just as much as a laborer working a construction site 40 feet in the air.
Some of the most common fall hazards include:
- Slippery or Wet Surfaces
- Uneven Surfaces
- Unstable Surfaces
- Cluttered Areas
- Floor Holes
- Unsafely Positioned Ladders
Because fall injuries in the workplace can incur considerable costs to employers, employees, and to the Workers’ Compensation system, reduction of fall accidents has become a priority. Medical costs and workers’ compensation paid as a result of fall accidents are around $70 billion per year in the U.S. To help, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is running a campaign to raise awareness of fall injuries, primarily in the construction industry. Falling from heights are a leading cause of construction site fatalities and have been for years. In 2015, there were 937 fatalities reported on construction sites, 350 (37%) of which were from falls. OSHA stresses that all those deaths were preventable, and has several programs in place to help prevent more construction workers’ suffering from injuries after a fall.
National Safety Stand Down
The National Safety Stand Down is a program that asks construction site managers to halt work (mostly for a single day, but sometimes up to a week) to discuss workplace safety measures and prevention. The Stand Down could also cover safety equipment inspections, emergency procedures after an accident, hazards that are specific to their construction site, and the development of any rescue plans, if necessary.
Participating employers can provide feedback about their Stand Down in order to receive a Certificate of Participation signed by the Secretary of Labor. This year’s event occurred from May 8-12, 2017.
There is a helpful list of tips to prepare for your Stand Down event posted on the OSHA website:
- Start early
- Ask subcontractors or other associated professionals for participation
- Develop engaging activities to encourage workers’ cooperation
- Promote the meeting and decide how long you want it to last
- Follow up with what you discussed for future improvements
Visit the OSHA website for more detailed suggestions for a successful Stand Down.
The Success of Stand Down Thus Far
During the first-ever Stand Down event in 2014, almost 5,000 Stand Down meetings were held nationwide. There were over 150 events provided on the OSHA website—free to the public. The U.S. Air Force was the biggest participant involved, with over 650,000 members including civilians, reserve members, and active duty.
In 2015, over 1 million workers were reached through Stand Down events across the nation. In addition, while only 8% of companies hosted events on more than 1 job site, in 2016 that number more than doubled to 17%. In general, a higher number of companies are seeing the value of hosting fall prevention programs for their employees. The industry with the highest participation by far last year was commercial construction—but participation from companies in non-construction industries has also increased since 2014.
Injured by a Fall? Contact a Pennsylvania Construction Injury Lawyer.
Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLP has been the premier personal injury lawyer in Pennsylvania since 1922. We have grown into the largest injury law firm in Harrisburg, serving thousands of clients in communities like York, Lancaster, Hanover, Harrisburg, Carlisle, and beyond. We provide aggressive, results-based representation that helps workers afford higher quality medical care and care for their family’s needs while they’re recovering from injuries on the job. If you’re looking for someone to fight for you and give you a voice, HHR is the law firm to call. Contact us for a free consultation. We’re happy to share your legal options with you and help make the right call for your case. We look forward to speaking with you and getting you some answers.
Call (888) 498-3023 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.