How to Prepare for a Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Since falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, raising awareness of the many potential fall hazards on construction sites is critical to reversing this troubling trend. Participation in the National Safety Stand-Down gives construction employers and workers the opportunity to join with many other companies throughout the U.S. to focus on fall prevention.

Preparation is the key to conducting a successful safety stand-down. The following are suggestions for how to approach the planning and execution of effective fall prevention stand-down activities:

  • Designate a coordinator to organize the stand-down. If you have multiple worksites, identify who will lead the stand-down at each site.
  • Ask your subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers or others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down.
  • Review your fall prevention program to help in the development of a stand-down focus or goal.
    • What are the specific risks of falls at your worksite(s)?
      • Falls from ladders
      • Falls from a roof
      • Falls from a scaffold
      • Falls down stairs
      • Falls from a structural steel
      • Falls through a floor or roof opening
      • Falls through a fragile roof surface
    • Is your program meeting its goals? What needs improvement?
    • Are you experiencing fatalities, injuries, or near misses?
    • Are employees aware of the company’s fall protection procedures?
    • What training have you provided? Does it need revision?
    • What equipment have you provided? Is better equipment available?
  • Develop presentations or activities that are most relevant and important to your workplace and workers. The meeting or toolbox talk should provide information about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises, such as a worksite walk-around, equipment checks, etc., can increase retention.
  • Decide when to hold the stand-down, how long it will last and if it will take place over a break, a lunch period or some other time.
  • Promote the stand-down to generate interest.

When conducting your stand-down activities, try to make them positive and interactive, allowing participants to talk about their experiences and offer suggestions for improvement. If you learn something that could improve your fall prevention program, make needed changes or adjustments.

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