On May 6, 2015, in the shadow of the historic U.S. Capitol dome restoration project in Washington, D.C., hundreds of construction workers stopped work and gathered in a park to focus on safety.
The event was hosted by Turner Construction, with support from the
Architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Department of Labor. DOL Deputy Secretary Chris Lu challenged those gathered to "keep talking about fall hazards, keep educating and training your workers, and keep dedicating yourselves to preventing falls at your worksites."
A Fall Can Change a Life in Seconds
Whether you fall 20 stories or 20 feet, a workplace fall can cause you to lose your livelihood – or your life. Even the most experienced workers can fall without the proper safety measures in place.
In 2014 alone, 337 workers died from falls on construction sites. Falls also remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and lack of proper fall protection remains the
most frequently cited violation by OSHA.
Each year across the country, employers, workers, safety associations and OSHA dedicate time to spread the word that stopping falls can save lives. Last year marked the second annual
National Safety Stand-Down for fall prevention in construction, a combined effort from
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and The Center for Construction Research and Training. During the stand-down, employers and workers paused their workday to focus on preventing falls through talks, demonstrations and trainings.
The Stand-Down has been a tremendous success the last two years. Nearly 1 million workers received certificates during the first stand-down and 2.5 million last year. Stand-Downs were reported in all 50 states and internationally. Over the past two years, small businesses, large corporations and some of the country's biggest construction companies have stopped their work to dedicate time to fall safety.
Though most of the Stand-Downs took place in commercial construction, participation was not limited to the construction industry. Nearly 15% of Stand-Down participants were non-construction employers. In fact, the largest single participant in 2015 was the United States Air Force, reaching about 1.5 million active duty, civilian and reserve service men and women.
This year, our goal is to have more than 5 million workers participate from May 2 to 6, 2016. As the economy continues to grow and the full construction season beings, we hope the Stand-Down will remind employers and workers that fall prevention is an important part of every workplace safety plan.
Let's Help Make Fall Prevention a Priority Everywhere
"Falls continue to effect workers in all kinds of jobs across the country; it's a broad problem that has a terrible impact on workers and their families," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "It's clear that this is an important issue to a great number of people across this nation. Through innovative and collaborative efforts like the National Safety Stand-Down, we are able to reach countless workers and employers and emphasis the importance of preventing falls on the jobsite."
Employers and workers all over the nation are encouraged to pause in their workday to talk about fall prevention in construction and dedicate themselves yet again to the safety of this nation's most valuable resource: workers.
To learn how to partner with OSHA during the Stand-Down, get information on how to conduct a successful event, find resources for employees and workers, receive a certificate of participation and get the latest news, visit