Fall prevention is up to the employer. Hear OSHA’s Matt McNicholas and NIOSH’s Dr. Christine Branche talk about the National Fall Safety Stand-Down.
Protecting construction employees from falls is job 1. Contractors and companies are required to provide equipment, training, and enforce the rules. The 2nd annual National Fall Safety Stand Down, May 4th-15th, is meant to focus on fall prevention education.
In this podcast, Dan Clark features interview highlights with representatives from both NIOSH and OSHA, the co-sponsors of the Stand-Down.
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Matt McNicholas: It’s still a leading cause of fatalities in construction, and it’s always in the top 10 issued violations of OSHA citations.
Dan Clark: We’re talking about falls, and fall prevention.
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Matt McNicholas: Falls have been one of the leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry for years.
Dan: That’s Matt McNicholas, Safety & Health Specialist for OSHA, Chicago.
Dr. Christine Branche: Construction workers have among the highest numbers—of injuries and deaths at work among all sectors.
Dan: That’s Dr. Christine Branche of NIOSH—The National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health. OSHA and NIOSH are the sponsors of the two week Stand-Down.
Dr. Branche: We’re asking employers to take some time, whether it’s over a lunch break, or another break in the day, or even a toolbox talk, to stop all work activity at a construction site and to talk to their workers about fall prevention.
Dan: This is because fall prevention is…the employer’s responsibility.
Matt McNicholas: There’s three things we really want employers to do.
Dan: Again, Matt McNicholas:
○ One is that you have to plan ahead to get the job done safely.
○ Second is that you provide the right equipment.
○ And third is that you train the exposed employees on how to use the equipment safely.
Dan: Do the employers have to be trainers, and instruct the employees?
Matt McNicholas: Well, we don’t specifically state on who has to provide the training. Whether they have a qualified person in-house that can do that for them, or they bring somebody out to their job site or into their workplace to determine what type of work they’re doing, what kind of falls they’re exposed to, and have that individual provide the training.
Dan: Matt has 20 years of experience with OSHA, including 12 years of those unannounced inspections.
Matt McNicholas: There’s certainly the element of surprise when you walk on a job site and inform the employee that you’re with OSHA. Many times they know they were wrong, begin apologizing and showing the equipment they had that was in a trailer, or in their car, or what have you.
And then, quite frankly, there are instances over the years where you meet people and they really didn’t know what the rules were. And didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do. They certainly understood that they were exposed to a fall, but weren’t sure what the requirements were.
Dan: Dr. Branche hopes all employers will participate in the stand-down.
Dr. Branche: Last year, it was absolutely fascinating. It was great to see all of the employees on a particular site stop what they were doing, gathered by their employer, and going over some vital information for what to do to keep safe.
Dan: The 2015 Stand-Down is May 4th through the 15th. To hear the full interviews with both Dr. Branche, of NIOSH, and Matt McNicholas, of OSHA, see the links in the transcript of this podcast to my other podcast site, Safety Experts Talk.
That’s all for this episode, Fall Prevention: Safety Stand-Down. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code BIG10.
Stand-Down images by US Department of Labor / Shawn T. Moore