Framer Takes a Break and Discusses Safety During Stand-Downs
by Kevin Kutschenreuter
This year, OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down will be held May 7-11. This event is a voluntary opportunity for “employers to talk directly to employees about safety” says OSHA, adding that “any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on ‘Fall Hazards’ and reinforcing the importance of ‘Fall Prevention.’”
Safety Director David Klatzkin of Hull Associates in Grand Prairie, Texas, has participated in the National Safety Stand-Down for several years. Each of his company’s multiple jobsites will receive a safety-focused visit, requiring employees to stop working and hear a reminder about a variety of potential issues, “whether it’s fall protection, ladders, whatever the issues are that we see,” says David. “It’s a good refocus, I mean, anytime you can get everybody at the same time to stop working and pay attention, it’s always good.”
David sees the National Safety Stand-Down as one helpful piece of what should be a much larger safety training program and safety culture. “For us, it’s just a continuation of what we do all year long, and that’s what it should be,” says David, referring to the event as a “tool to reinforce fall protection.” He insists that it “shouldn’t just be a one-time thing.”
Reinforcement of safety procedures, especially in the area of fall protection, is a need within the industry. In 2016, 21.1% of U.S. worker fatalities were in construction, amounting to 991 deaths, 384 of which were the result of falls. Despite the message these statistics send, resistance to proper fall protection still exists. The most frequently given OSHA citation in 2017 was for failure to meet fall protection standards.
David encouraged framing companies interested in participating in the event to think about their particular safety needs beforehand. “I think [participants] have to understand: What are the subcontractors not doing in terms of being safe on their jobsites, and then whatever that is, it’s a good week to [retrain] them [on it].”
David’s company uses NFC’s FrameSAFE as their safety training program, which is a good tool for training employees both before they enter the jobsite and for retraining events like the National Safety Stand-Down.
Visit OSHA’s website for further resources and ideas for preparing a successful stand-down of your own. After the event, participating employers can share feedback with OSHA about their stand-down and even download a Certificate of Participation.