HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ will participate in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 7th Annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction.
Originally scheduled for May 4-8, the event is rescheduled for Sept. 14 -18. USACE is expanding on OSHA’s efforts to include fall prevention in the workplace to encompass all elements of the USACE mission.
This event is a national voluntary campaign for government (federal, state and local), industry, unions, academia, societies, councils, and associations to take a safety pause to meet with employees to discuss how to prevent falls in the workplace.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s stand-down is being hosted virtually via webinars. The webinars will be open to all USACE employees. Topic discussions will focus on fall protection requirements; implementing a fall protection program; fall protection in construction and fall protection equipment. Each webinar will include a question and answer session, where participants are encouraged to ask any questions relating to fall prevention and protection in the workplace.
In order to access the webinars, Corps of Engineers Safety Offices will send log-in information Corps-wide via email a couple of weeks prior to the event. Information will also be passed along to other industry partners and Corps stakeholders through email and telephone calls as well.
OSHA’s Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction began in 2012 with construction industry stakeholders seeking a way to raise awareness about falls.
Falls are the top cause of construction fatalities and account for one-third of on-the-job injury deaths in the industry. Each year in the U.S. more than 200 construction workers are killed and more than 10,000 are seriously injured by falls.
In efforts to prevent fall-related incidents, Mark Atkins, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters safety chief, tasked the Corps’ High Hazard Working Group for Fall Protection to build on the team’s efforts from the 2019 campaign, and further engage the Corps workforce and stakeholders in the event.
"If we want to prevent falls, we must ensure we take deliberate actions and create a plan for all who work at height, and ensure all workers have the proper training and equipment needed to work safely at height,” Atkins said.
“When training is provided, it must be meaningful training focusing on specific hazards people face when working at height. This is the key component to success. If workers know potential hazards and how to adequately mitigate them, know how to set up and use fall protection equipment in accordance with manufacturers’ requirements and recommendations, we can prevent falls.”
While OSHA’s campaign is centered in the United States, USACE is a world-wide organization often employing local nation-based construction contractors working on projects in host countries. Therefore, the Corps encourages participation world-wide.
Japan District Safety Specialists Chris Nelson and Jeff Ice created informative posters and presentations with statistics from OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor, and worked with the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to develop and share with contractor partners in English and Japanese.
"I’ve always felt we have had a duty to be ambassadors for safety and health regardless of where the USACE mission takes us,” Nelson said.
“Building on our strategic alliance with our Japanese partners and contractors, the Japan District Safety and Health Office has a passion for sharing the lessons we’ve learned, particularly in the area of fall prevention."
For more information on the campaign, visit the Stop Construction Falls website.