Preventing Falls in Construction: National Safety Stand-Down

Preventing Falls in Construction: National Safety Stand-Down

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the construction industry. To help combat this serious problem, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. This year’s 10th annual Stand-Down is scheduled for May 1-5, 2023, and is designed to raise awareness of the risks of falls in the workplace and teach employers and employees how to use fall protection safely and effectively. Read on to learn about the event’s history, fall protection usage in the United States, and how to host a successful safety stand-down.

History of the National Safety Stand-Down

The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to raise awareness of fall hazards in the construction industry. This event was initially held in 2014 and has been held yearly.

The event is intended to help employers, supervisors, and workers recognize and reduce the risk of falls from heights. OSHA believes that falls can be prevented with proper education, training, and planning. The event aims to create a safer workplace for construction industry workers and save lives.

The stand-down also encourages employers to train their employees about fall hazards, provide safety equipment, review safety policies and procedures, and develop rescue plans for workers who may be injured in a fall. In addition to these requirements, employers are encouraged to conduct a job hazard analysis to identify any fall hazards in their work area and provide adequate fall protection equipment such as guardrails, ladders, and personal fall arrest systems.

Since its inception, the National Safety Stand-Down has grown in popularity and is now celebrated by companies across the United States. Many organizations use this event to promote workplace safety and recognize the importance of preventing falls from heights. The event has also raised awareness about other workplace safety issues, such as heat safety, electrical safety, hazard communication, machine guarding, and lockout/tagout.

An Uptrend in the Use of Fall Protection

In recent years, there has been an uptrend in the use of fall protection for construction workers. This trend is driven by federal and state regulations requiring employers to take steps to prevent falls in their workplace. Employers must now provide appropriate fall protection, such as safety harnesses, lanyards, guardrails, and other protective equipment. Employers must also provide regular training on proper safety techniques to their employees. 

Studies have shown that with the increase in fall protection, the number of injuries and fatalities due to falls in the workplace has decreased significantly. In 2016, 919 reported fatal occupational injuries related to falls in the United States. However, in 2020, the number had dropped to 688, a 25 percent decrease. This decrease is attributed to the increased use of fall protection and improved safety practices in the workplace.

The importance of fall protection cannot be overstated. Employers must provide safe working conditions, equipment, and training to protect employees from falls. Furthermore, employers should ensure that they comply with all safety regulations and standards to ensure the safety of their workers. With the right equipment and training, employers can reduce the risks of injury and death due to falls in the workplace.

Six Steps on Holding a Stand-Down for Fall Protection

The National Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event to prevent workplace falls. Employers are encouraged to hold a safety stand-down at their place of work to focus on fall hazards and to emphasize the importance of fall protection. Here are some tips on how to successfully hold a stand-down:

  1. Develop an agenda: Before the stand-down, employers should develop an agenda outlining the topics that will be discussed, such as fall prevention and protection, the proper use of fall protection equipment, and any other related issues. An agenda will help ensure the event is productive and beneficial for all participants. 
  2. Schedule a date and time: Once the agenda is developed, employers should schedule a date and time for the stand-down. Ensuring all employees are aware of the event and can attend is essential.
  3. Invite knowledgeable speakers: It is beneficial to invite knowledgeable speakers to present during the stand-down. Expert professionals will ensure all participants get the most up-to-date fall prevention and protection information.
  4. Provide handouts: Employers should provide handouts such as fact sheets, safety posters, and other fall prevention and protection materials. Such items will help ensure that everyone has access to the same information and can use it to increase their knowledge of fall hazards and safety protocols.
  5. Take breaks: Breaks throughout the stand-down will help keep participants engaged and ensure everyone is paying attention and taking in the information.
  6. Follow-up: After the stand-down, employers should follow up with participants to ensure they understand the importance of fall prevention and protection. They should also remind employees to inspect their equipment and follow safety protocols regularly. 

By following these instructions, employers can hold a National Safety Stand-Down to emphasize the importance of fall prevention and protection in the workplace. Participants can provide feedback about their Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation from the OSHA website at

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