What is a Safety Stand-Down?
In a construction setting, the term “safety stand-down” is used to describe a wide variety of activities where normal work is paused and the entire site focuses on a particular safety issue. While some employers may use stand-downs to call attention to specific hazards present on their site as an intervention, the National Falls Campaign has adopted the use of the stand-down to draw attention to fall hazards, which are present on most construction sites. The first National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls was held in June 2014, and reached an estimated 1 million workers. The second Stand-Down was held in May 2015 and reached over 1.5 million workers!
Contractors, workers, and safety professionals across the nation participated in these events, making huge strides in the fight against the leading cause of death for construction workers. Workers were educated on fall protection, including how to properly inspect and use protective equipment, and many companies took this opportunity to replace old or worn harnesses and lanyards. The Stand-Down demonstrates the type of success that can come out of a nationally coordinated effort.
Stand-downs can be tailored to specific industries and jobsites, making it easy and beneficial for anyone to participate. They may be very short, and comprised of a toolbox talk or a safety huddle where specific hazard controls are discussed, or they may be of longer duration and include training and the provision of information on a variety of hazard controls. Others have used stand-downs as an opportunity to inspect fall prevention or protection equipment.
Click here for an analysis of the 2014 and 2015 Stand-Down based on data collected from OSHA’s certificate of participation website. For more detailed information about particularly successful Stand-Down events see the links below.