Use Stand-Downs to Step Up Safety

OSHA has partnered with other safety organizations for the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 4-15. The program’s goal is to bring attention to the importance of safety procedures and employee training in preventing fall hazards in the construction industry. During those two weeks employers and supervisors were encouraged to talk with their employees about the importance of on-site safety and to answer questions from employees about safety procedures in their workplace.

Although the official Stand-Down program period has ended, there is still time to implement a stand-down at your site or place of business to receive a certificate from the U.S. Secretary of Labor showing your company’s commitment to worker safety. Certificates will be available online through June 30, 2015.

Stand-downs can be as formal or informal as you choose. Consider rallying your workers during a break to discuss important safety measures that could reduce injuries or even save lives. Offering a snack during the break could encourage participation and would also help fuel up your crew.

If you want more in-depth training, set up longer sessions over a period of several weeks. In addition to using your own knowledge of the company or work site, ask workers what safety topics they would like addressed. You just might be surprised at what they suggest. Click here for some tips from OSHA about how to organize a successful stand-down.

Whether you choose a brief toolbox talk during a break period or you opt for more in-depth training sessions, encourage your employees to share their thoughts and ask questions about their safety and their workplace. Putting safety first reduces costs, prevents injuries, and can even save lives.

Be sure to engage all of your workers, from rookies to seasoned professionals. Those with more experience on the job are not immune to injuries or fatalities. This video produced by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program tells the story of Joe, a roofing supervisor with many years of work experience who tripped onto a skylight and fell to his death.

Stand-downs are not limited  to the construction industry. All businesses can benefit from holding stand-downs with their employees or subcontractors to discuss workplace safety. That includes small businesses with only a handful of employees. Safety comes first, whether you have a two-person team or dozens of crew members.

As the summer construction season gets underway, join OSHA as they stand-down to step up safety.

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