The risks of working at heights can be deceiving. In workplaces, no matter the height, the risks are too often discounted – until someone falls.
In 2014, 345 construction workers lost their lives in falls, the leading cause of death in construction. Adding in workers from all other industries, a total of 660 Americans at work lost their lives in falls at various heights, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What may surprise most people is that nearly two out of every three fatal falls were from 20 feet or less. Of these falls, 191 people lost their lives falling from 10 feet – the height of a basketball hoop – or less.
That’s why the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is focusing its 2016 National Occupational Safety and Health Week efforts on encouraging ASSE members to join with OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), other occupational safety and health organizations and employers to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Stand Down events are being held across the country this week and throughout the construction season to share information about proper ladder safety, which is this year’s focus.
“The National Stand-Down events taking place this week and beyond are a poignant reminder that working from heights should not be taken for granted,” said ASSE President Michael Belcher. “We appreciate all companies who are participating and encourage as many workers as possible to take part in the training that many of these events will provide.”
This year, the National Stand-Down Week coincides with North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, where ASSE, the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) and the Interdisciplinary Association of Occupational Health and Hygiene of Mexico (AISOHMEX) join together to raise public and employer awareness of the importance of safe and healthy workplaces throughout North America. Activities are led by occupational safety and health professionals working with their employers and others to share their knowledge about how best to manage the risks that threaten workers’ well-being and organizations’ success.