The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down runs from May 7-11. It encourages companies and workers to take a break and pause during the workday for discussions, demonstrations and training in preventing falls, which are one of the leading causes of workplace deaths and injuries.

“The Stand-Down has touched so many lives since its creation because all of us in construction know the hazards,” says Dean McKenzie, OSHA director of construction. “Many of us have experienced the consequences of falls or know someone who has. So, we encourage everyone to take this opportunity and redouble efforts to make sure all workers go home to their families every night.”

Fatal work injuries from falls, slips or trips increased 6 percent to 849 in 2016, according to the latest Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, released in December 2017 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They’re up 25 percent overall since 2011.

“Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees,” says Cari Elofson, assistant director of the OSHA Training Institute Education Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “We urge construction employers to participate in the Safety Stand-Down to raise fall hazard awareness with their workers and help eliminate these preventable deaths.”

The stand-downs provide an opportunity for employers and their workers to talk about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations.

The agency’s Stand-Down webpage offers information on conducting a successful event, and educational resources in English and Spanish. Employers are encouraged to provide feedback after their events, and to obtain a personalized certificate of participation.

Organizations supporting and participating in the event include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Center for Construction Research and Training; National Occupational Research Agenda; OSHA-approved State Plans; state consultation programs; American Society of Safety Engineers; National Safety Council; National Construction Safety Executives; U.S. Air Force; and the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, among many more.

According to OSHA, the stand-downs have been a success since they were first launched five years ago. More than 150 events were held across the country last year. Participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. military, other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations and safety equipment manufacturers.