This week, tradesmen and tradeswomen across the nation, including members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 will be encouraged to spend a little extra time thinking about jobsite safety.
Initially scheduled to take place between May 4 and May 8, National Safety Stand Down Week was rescheduled for Sept. 14 through Sept. 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This marks the seventh year for National Safety Stand Down Week, which aims to eliminate fall hazard deaths and injuries through collective awareness, education and conversation.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 1,800 events will be held across all 50 states, as some 10 million workers are expected to participate in stand down events.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes Safety Stand Down week as a “voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.” Although National Safety Stand Down week is focused on fall hazards, these toolbox talks can involve anything safety related.
According to OSHA, there were 4,779 worker fatalities in the private industry in 2018, with roughly 21 percent (1,008) occurring in the construction industry. This equates to one in five workplace deaths taking place in the construction industry.
By far, the leading cause of death in the construction industry is falls.
The most recent data revealed 338 out of 1,008 deaths (33.5 percent) in construction were caused by falls, which frequently happen from ladders, scaffolding, heights and aerial lifts. Many times, falls can be prevented by following simple safety procedures.
While it can be easy to disregard certain safety measures for use of lifts, ladders, baker scaffolds and other apparatuses, the measures are put in place to ensure tradesmen and tradeswomen go home safely at the end of every workday.
Historically, workplaces have become safer due to enhanced training programs, which focus on safety and protocols to prevent workplace injury and illness. Thanks to these programs, worker injuries and illnesses are down from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.8 per 100 in 2017.
Whether it is a five-minute morning talk at the table or time spent walking the jobsite identifying hazards with your fellow Brothers and Sisters, OSHA encourages tradesmen and tradeswomen everywhere to participate in Safety Stand Down week.