Join the National Safety Stand-Down | May 2023 Safety Advisor

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s tenth annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is May 1-5, 2023 and OSHA encourages construction employers to join the event to promote awareness and training to address one of the industry’s most serious dangers. 

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 378 of the 986 construction fatalities reported in 2021 (BLS data.) Those deaths were preventable.

What is a Safety Stand-Down?

A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary opportunity for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. Employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards have a conversation with employees about the job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals. It’s also an opportunity for employees to talk to management about job hazards they see.

Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Down. In past years, participants included commercial and residential construction companies, independent contractors, highway construction companies, the U.S. Military, unions, trade associations, employee interest organizations and safety equipment manufacturers, and more. 

Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break for a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards. Management is encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime.

Share Your Story

To share information with OSHA on your Safety Stand-Down, Fall Prevention Programs or suggestions on future initiatives, email and share your event on social media with the hashtag #StandDown4Safety.

Monthly Toolbox Talk 

No Fry Friday 

The American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer, and the risk increases as we spend more time enjoying the outdoors. The Friday before Memorial Day is National Don’t Fry Day, and the goal is to raise awareness of all the risks of overexposure to the sun.

Skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with more than one million cases reported annually. By following these recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) you can enjoy your time in the sun and stay safe:

  • Avoid burning. Sunburns significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.
  • Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. UV light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.
  • Apply sunscreen generously. That means about one ounce to cover all exposed skin 20 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and provide protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek shade and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when possible.
  • Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, which reflect the sun’s  damaging rays, increasing the risk of sunburn.
  • Check the UV Index as you plan outdoor activities. The UV Index is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA and posted to their websites.
  • Get your Vitamin D through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D.
  • Have a dermatologist evaluate any new or changing mole.

Prepared and edited by Michael Ballantine; Occupational Safety Consultants

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