According to the United States Department of Labor, 20.7% of all worker deaths were in construction—that is, one in five workers. Within that statistic, the leading causes of death—in private sector construction—were falls. Construction’s “Fatal Four” which are struck by object, electrocution, caught-in/between and falls were responsible for more than half (59.9%) the construction worker deaths in 2017. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 582 workers’ lives in America every year.
With that in mind, OSHA [The Occupational Safety and Health Administration] has been rolling out National Safety Stand-Down Week [May 6-10, 2019] since 2014. Their safety standards require anyone working higher than six feet off the ground to have the proper fall-arrest equipment. “Safety Pays, Falls Cost” continue to be OSHA’s mantra. The antidote? Harness best practices by communicating and teaching these simple steps: Plan, Provide, Train.
AIR2, LLC, a PLH Group helicopter company which maintains and constructs high-voltage power lines—performs one of the most exciting jobs in the world every time they lower a ‘flying linemen’ onto their high voltage power line jobsites: youtube.com. For them, harnessing-up is teamwork at its best, checking and double-checking equipment for each other. The video reveals how even the most challenging jobs are made safer by proper harnessing safety protocols:
Make a safety plan for each job
Use the proper harness for the task
Inspect the harness, lanyard and anchor points
A tremendous success over the last five years, OSHA reports that Stand-Down events were reported in all 50 states and internationally. Participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential construction contractors, highway construction companies, the U.S. Military, unions, and safety equipment manufacturers, just to name a few. OSHA emphasizes ongoing awareness and attention—not just for National Safety Stand-Down Week—with many tools, videos, materials, and ways to engage workers in the common goal of safety: youtube.com.
In addition, OSHA encourages sharing experiences and stories with #StandDown4Safety on social media and have Certificates of Participation on their website to be issued by the employer for all participants. The belief is that beyond the second week in May, ‘toolbox meetings’ and ‘construction chats’ over safety will always be a topic, so that everyone harnesses Plan, Provide, and Train in order to save lives.