By James L. Curtis, Mark A. Lies, II, and Craig B. Simonsen

In an announcement last week, OSHA noted that falls from elevation, accounting for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012, continues to be a leading cause of death for construction workers.

Dr. David Michaels, The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health explained that “we’re working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls.” To emphasize the issue, Dr. John Howard, the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said that “this safety stand-down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards.” OSHA’s stated “goal” is to “have over 25,000 employers and 500,000 workers to hold a stand-down.”

While not required by OSHA, it is asking that during the nationally scheduled event, anytime during the week of June 2-6, 2014, employers voluntarily pause their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction, and discuss topics like ladder safety, scaffolding safety, and roofing work safety.

The National Safety Stand-Down website provides contractors and employers with a wealth of useful fall prevention resources. As this event is a continuation of OSHA’s 2012 Fall Prevention Campaign, it is incumbent upon contractors and employers to take steps to ensure that their fall prevention policies, procedures, and training practices are fully compliant and implemented. You may be sure that if an OSHA inspector visits your worksite, he will likely undertake that analysis.