COVID-19 is not the only health risk construction workers face on a jobsite.
The observance of National Safety Stand Down Week, May 3 to 7, is a reminder of the many hazards construction workers face every day of their careers — and the importance of working safely for the health and protection of everyone.
During this week, various contractors across the U.S. conducted safety stand-down events. Some chose to have a toolbox talk, while others conducted a safety activity, such as increased safety equipment inspections.
National Safety Stand Down Week plays an important role by reinforcing common safety practices taught in OSHA-30 and MEWP classes.
“It’s good to be back talking about the basics and not have to talk about the virus,” said IUPAT DC6 Training Director George Boots. “Members need to follow all safety protocols, inspect equipment and make sure they follow all PPE guidelines and documentation.”
The most dangerous safety risk on a jobsite is falling. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death for construction employees — accounting for 401 of the 1,061 construction fatalities recorded in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The threats facing those who work from heights are real. Whether a construction worker is using scaffolding, standing on a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) or working on a roof, one wrong step can lead to a serious injury or worse.
A former glazier, Boots knows what it is like to work from heights. He pointed out the importance of not only your own personal safety on jobsites, but watching those around you whose work may create potential falling hazards. It is for this reason he said workers should never cross a safety barricade.
“The biggest thing we talk about is wanting to go home safe to your family,” Boots said. “The last thing we want to do is to remember a fallen Brother or Sister.”