As it enters its second week, OSHA’s effort to prevent falls in the construction industry is causing work stoppages around the globe.

That’s a good thing, because the breaks are being conducted voluntarily by employers who are using the opportunity to remind their workers about fall hazards and demonstrate techniques and the use of fall protection devices that will prevent falls – the top cause of fatalities in the industry.

OSHA hopes to reach 20,000 companies and 3 million workers during the two-week stand-down.

The American Society of Safety Engineers focused on fall hazards during its annual North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, which included a panel on fall prevention at ASSE's America's At-Risk Workers Symposium on May 6 in Washington, D.C. Nearly 1,000 students and workers gathered at the Durham, Conn., fairgrounds to participate in a fall prevention "rodeo" May 5-6, featuring free training presented by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

A large stand-down event is planned for tomorrow at the new Falcons Stadium Partnership site in Atlanta, Ga. Tomorrow is also Houston Fall Prevention Day in Houston, Texas. Additionally, a roofing safety webinar hosted by the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Kuwait, Japan and beyond

Several international worksites are participating in this year’s stand-down. Kuwait Oil Company plans to lead stand-downs every work-day from May 6-17. In Japan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to elevate awareness of fall hazards by disseminating its own Safety Stand-Down materials as part of a fall prevention training package.

The United States Air Force has once again committed its support for the National Safety Stand-Down by hosting events that will reach more than 1.5 million active-duty Airmen, Guard, Reserve, civilians and family members stationed around the world. The Air Force has also partnered with other Department of Defense agencies for the widest possible reach, including international bases.

The Air Force experiences hundreds of fall incidents annually that result in thousands of lost man-hours as well as injuries and deaths. During the two-week effort, every individual or unit is encouraged to take some time to review fall hazards in their workplace or at home. Supervisors can work with unit safety representatives to develop events such as a discussion, a presentation, or invite a guest speaker to highlight fall risks.

"This is as an important issue to the Air Force, as it is to me," said Bill Parsons, Air Force chief of ground safety. "Preventing fall injuries and fatalities in every workplace &emdash; the flight line, the construction site, the office and at home &emdash; through education and awareness keeps our Airmen mission ready."

In addition to OSHA and NIOSH, the Air Force is partnering with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force Exchange Services, Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Department of Energy.


OSHA has a Stand-Down web page with a resources section for anyone interested in holding a stand-down. Among the resources are a Fall Prevention Training Guide in English and Spanish, fact sheets, wallet cards, and promotional posters. After hosting or participating in a stand-down, OSHA reminds employers and workers to visit the OSHA Stand-Down webpage or the National Safety Council webpage to print an official Certificate of Participation signed by the Secretary of Labor to recognize your business' commitment to workplace safety.