Celia Voyles

I’ve just finished reading “Switch”, the 2010 best-selling book on how to bring about personal and organization change. Authors Chip and Dan Heath propose successful long-term changes follow a development pattern that unites a person’s rational mind and emotional mind. In the development of this change pattern, managers created a clear simple message that was presented in a new environment that suggested urged acceptance by the group.

Organizers of next week’s National Fall Prevention Stand-Down must have read “Switch”. OSHA has partnered with key groups to assist with this weeklong effort. These groups include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), the National Safety Council, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.

The purpose of the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 269 of the 775 construction fatalities recorded in 2012. Those deaths were preventable. Fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2012.

Imagine how our industry would be impacted if every tailgate meeting across the country next week focused on preventing falls. OSHA organizers’ goal is to have more than 25,000 employers interact with 500,000 workers during the Stand-Down. At these numbers the effort would have touched almost 1 out of 10 construction workers in the country.

It’s not hard to become involved. OSHA has posted a list of sites that are offering Stand-Down activities. Their training experts have even posted a link to See Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful "Stand-Down."

Two of our World of Concrete educational partners have been involved in the important effort. The Scaffolding Access Industry of America has encouraged its members to host local learning sessions.

Perhaps the best reference material for fall protection equipment selection and us comes from the International Safety and Equipment Association (ISEA). ISEA promoted this topic at their 2014 Fall Protection Showcase at World of Concrete. Supported by member manufacturers, they instructed more than 200 attendees. The “ISEA Fall Protection Group's Use and Selection Guide for Personal Fall Protection Equipment” provides practical guidance for users and administrators in selection, use, maintenance and inspection of fall protection equipment. A companion document, Frequently Addressed Topics in Fall Protection, addresses many of the most commonly asked questions about fall protection equipment and systems. You can download ISEA's Guide to Fall Protection Equipment.

OSHA is asking that employers to provide feedback of their Stand-Down activities and download Certificates of Participation on their experience June 2 to July 15, 2014. The link is stopconstructionfalls.com.

Investing is safety pays dividends. Please send us pictures of your crew participating in this national event.