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Safety groups urge participation in construction falls stand-down

If asked to identify the leading cause of fatalities among construction workers, most people would probably identify accidents involving heavy machinery, electricity or falling objects.

While these are all very good guesses -- and very real dangers -- the number one cause of fatalities according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is actually falls. Indeed, the agency has found that they account for an astounding 37 percent of deaths in the construction sector.

In recognition of this staggering reality, NIOSH, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Center for Construction Research and Training and other interested parties are urging employers across the nation to participate in a national safety stand-down they've joined forces to organize.

Specifically, these agencies and organizations are asking organizations to participate in the fourth annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, which is scheduled to take place from May 8-12.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a stand-down, it's essentially a relatively brief window in which operations are halted in order to hold a dialogue with workers about safety or conduct some manner of proactive safety measures.

Indeed, OSHA has suggested that employers could do everything from host a "toolbox talk" on fall prevention topic, or conduct a real-time inspection of safety equipment including guardrails, harnesses and safety lines.

While some employers might be loath to consider the measure, citing a loss of valuable time, statistics show that more than 10,000 organizations with over 2 million workers have taken part in past stand-downs.  

Here's hoping that employers here in New York and across the nation make the right decision …

If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a fall at a construction site, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options. 

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