It’s no surprise that safety is top of mind for every worker on every job site. And yet, falls from elevation are still happening. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls from elevation continue to be the leading cause of death for construction employees.1
That’s why OSHA sponsors National Safety Stand-Down each year. This voluntary event is designed to raise fall hazard awareness in order to stop fall fatalities and injuries. National Safety Stand-Down is also your opportunity to “walk the talk.”
Here are 5 things you can do during National Safety Stand-Down to show workers how much safety matters.
Acknowledge the elephant in the room. Talking about safety can feel like somebody is reading from a book but never turns the page. Explain why you talk about safety so much. Share the hard truth and fast facts about fatalities. In addition, give some context by focusing on real-world situations. Tap into safety near-misses you yourself have experienced. Use the day-to-day challenges your workers face on the job site to make safety more personal.
Approach every safety talk as a dialogue. Ask open-ended questions like, “How would you feel if …” or “Please describe a time when …” These questions can help workers make a connection between the statistical facts of falls and the reality of how it affects real life. Let employees share, too. Remember, feedback is a powerful tool, and may lead to new ideas or changes in your safety plan and policies.
Keep in mind that people have different ways of listening and learning. Find new ways to present safety information. A short video vignette or a highly visual infographic, for example, can help capture attention or offer a different point of view. Get your personal protective equipment (PPE) out, too, remind everyone of proper use techniques.
Ask employees to strut their safety stuff. Have them walk everyone through your safety procedures and protocols, or give a demonstration. For example, have workers go through a 5-point harness inspection that includes looking at labels, load indicators, webbing, hardware, and stitching. Even better? Do some side-by-side challenges and see who can do it in under 2 minutes. For many, hands-on training and peer-to-peer competition can have more impact than employer-to-employee training.
Like you, we’re on mission to protect the health and safety of workers, helping ensure their safe return home at the end of each workday. In fact, it’s why we’re called The Safety Company. So, we’ve put together a couple of complimentary resources to help with your Safety Stand-Down participation:
- Download our Toolbox Talks white paper. Created specifically for the construction industry, this white paper includes the who, what, why, and how of this very important safety strategy.
- Learn more and register for free virtual training. We’re creating an all-new, three-part virtual training series on fall prevention safety for the construction industry and you’re invited to be among the first to participate.
- Find fall protection safety tips and construction industry resources. We have an entire section of our website devoted to the construction industry. Striving for zero incidents – before a shovel hits the ground.
Final Thoughts. Construction falls and safety mistakes are costly in terms of lives, time, and money. National Safety Stand-Down Day is your opportunity to, once again, put safety front and center, and to have a conversation with your employees about the hazards they face and what you’re doing to help protect them.
1 United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Join the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/.