As the weather warms and crews really get down to business this spring, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training have both announced education and information campaigns around jobsite safety.
Falling for Safety
At OSHA, fall prevention is once again top of mind. The agency is calling for a National Safety Stand-Down June 2-6 to call attention to fall hazards and the injuries and fatalities they cause. The voluntary event gives employers an excuse to talk directly to employees about fall hazards and to reinforce the importance of fall prevention. "Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in this industry," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We're working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. We are getting the message out to America's employers that safety pays and falls cost."
To participate in the Safety Stand-Down, construction companies stop work and hold a focused "toolbox talk" on a safety topic, such as ladder safety, fall protection equipment, or scaffolds safety. OSHA says the meetings should provide information about the hazards and protective methods related to the day's topic, as well as company safety policies, expectations, and goals. Here are OSHA's suggestions for a successful Safety Stand-Down.
"The goal is to have over 25,000 employers and 500,000 workers to hold a Stand-Down," OSHA says. "If we meet this goal, we will have touched almost 1 out of 10 construction workers in the country." Details on the agency's website outline how employers can get certificates of participation after the event and share their safety stories with OSHA.
Lend a Hand
At CPWR: The Center for Construction Research & Training, it's all hands on deck. The organization, which also run's OSHA's fall-prevention campaign, recently launched a program on hand protection. "In the building trades, our hands are our livelihood," executive director Pete Stafford said in a recent CPWR newsletter. "A cut or a burn - not to mention tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome - can mean lost time and lost wages."
Knowing that, the organization recently launched ChooseHandSafety.org as a resource to help contractors and their trades learn about steps to prevent hand injuries and disorders on the job. Stafford says the website was developed with guidance from the Masonry Research to Practice Partnership (r2p), including specific information tailored for the trowel trades, as well as general information on how to select hand tools and gloves (hint: there's no magic ergonomic tool, Stafford says. It's all based on hand size), and training materials on how to identify hazards and protect your hands.