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Prevent falls on your job site with a Safety Stand-Down

Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites, leading to more deaths than electrocution and being crushed by heavy machinery combined. More than 350 construction workers died as the result of falls in 2017 alone, according to the Bureau of Labor.

With the right measures in place, all those lives could have been saved. The problem is, too many job sites don’t implement those measures. In fact, a lack of fall protection was the most frequently cited OSHA violation in 2018 — meaning there seems to be a disconnect between the problem and the prevention.  

That comes with a cost, not just in preventable tragedies but in dollars and cents. Violators can be assessed up to $13,260 per violation, with repeated offenses costing more than $130,000.

The solution: It pays to pay attention, and an excellent way to generate that attention within your crew is by creating a Safety Stand-Down.

What is a Safety Stand-Down?

A Safety Stand-Down is an opportunity for employers to educate their teams on what they can do to prevent falls and how to spot the hazards that cause them. Every year, OSHA encourages stand-downs at a national level as a method to increase awareness of fall prevention. You can participate, too, wherever you are.

Why are stand-downs important? 

Falls are sneaky. All it takes is a little gravity at the least opportune time. And when it’s in motion, it’s usually too late to act.

A Safety Stand-Down gets that risk out in the open for your team. After all, it’s not enough to have your safety supervisor be the only person monitoring the site. Multiple sets of eyes are always better than one. The more your team knows what to watch for, the safer everyone will be.

That’s why we created this five-step guide to an effective Safety Stand-Down:

1. Schedule your stand-down for first thing in the morning

Start the day with the Safety Stand-Down. That allows you to address the issue before any mistakes have been made and to set the tone for safety, right from the start.

2. Review your existing fall prevention practices

Every job site is different, so fall risks can vary, depending on the project and the equipment being used, be it scaffolds, ladders or roofs. So, before you bring up the topic in a stand-down, make sure you know what’s already being done around your site and whether improvements can be made. That way, you come prepared to make an impact.

3. Include other members of your team

Safety may not be the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s a crucial one that affects everybody. When one person lectures for too long, it’s easy for the audience to tune him/her out. On the other hand, if you involve your audience as much as possible, they’re more likely to stay engaged. Plus, outside perspectives can add depth to your presentation.

4. Change it up

If your presentation consists of talking and only talking, you’ll fail to engage your team. Even the best listeners get tired of listening after a while, and people learn in different ways. Some need to get their hands dirty. Others need a visual aid. The more you can reinforce your message with interactive exercises, the more likely your audience is to learn something new.

5. Keep the conversation going

To be clear, stand-downs aren’t the only time your team should focus on fall prevention. Consider them a tool to spark overall awareness. Workers who take what they’ve learned and apply it in their day-to-day operations are what make the true difference. Try to give them key takeaways to latch onto, so when they come across a fall risk, they can rise to the occasion. And plan some check-ins after the fact.

Safety training and resources are a major part of the Power of Sunbelt. We do everything we can to ensure that, when our customers use our equipment, they’re in safe hands. That’s why we teach a full curriculum of training courses for operators so they can stay free from the various dangers and pitfalls that can happen in the field, including OSHA non-compliance.

If you’re interested in boosting your safety IQ, get in touch with our experts today.