Standing Down from Work to Stand Up for Worker Safety
As part of our commitment to safety, the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI), the Diisocyanates Panel (DII), and the Aliphatic Diisocyanates Panel (ADI) have partnered with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to form a voluntary alliance that provides employees, employers, occupational physicians, and stakeholders with the information, resources, and training needed to continue to keep workers safe on the worksite. This week, we are joining OSHA in spreading awareness about fall hazards and prevention to help better protect workers.
From Sept. 14-18, OSHA is celebrating its annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls In Construction Week. All week, OSHA is encouraging workplaces to hold Safety Stand-Downs, voluntary events for employers to speak directly with employees about safety, focusing specifically on fall hazards and prevention.
Falls are a leading cause of death for construction industry employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 320 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities in 2018 were from falls. Health and human safety, especially in the workplace, remain a top priority for the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
What is a Safety Stand-Down, and Who Should Participate?
OSHA is partnering with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CPWR–The Center for Construction Research and Training, and other organizations to promote a Stand-Down: a voluntary opportunity for employers and employees to take a break from work to discuss potential fall hazards and how to prevent falls. Stand-Downs are not just limited to discussions about fall hazards; they can include conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, discussing job-specific hazards, and other safety activities.
While Stand-Downs are primarily aimed toward companies whose employees are exposed to fall hazards, all organizations can take this opportunity to discuss other potential job hazards, protective methods, and safety policies and goals with employees. This is an opportune time for employees to raise concerns about job hazards and safety protocols with employers.
Need Help Preparing a Successful Stand-Down?
Are you an employer looking to conduct a successful Stand-Down? OSHA’s Stand-Down resources page has a variety of information on fall hazards, safety and prevention, proper equipment checks, ladder safety guidance, and more. Below are just a few of the various resources available on OSHA’s resources page:
- OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign page discusses how to safely plan a job, how to provide the right equipment and protect workers at heights of six feet or more, and how to train employees on the set-up and use of equipment.
- OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide provides guidance on how to prevent injuries and fatalities, including how to conduct Toolbox Talks on a variety fall prevention topics.
- OSHA’s Fall Prevention Publications page contains fall prevention materials such as fact sheets and publications on fall protection for the construction industry and roofing workers.
- OSHA’s resources page also provides links to resources from partner sites, such as CPWR’s Stop Construction Falls website, NIOSH: National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction, and the National Safety Council.
- OSHA’s Events Page lists events that are free and open to the public to help employers and employees find events in their area.
Over the past six years, OSHA has had tremendous participation success with Safety Stand-Down Week, with Stand-Downs taking place in all 50 states and internationally. Each year, more than 150 public events were held nationwide, and, according to a 2018 BLS report, falls from an elevated level to a lower level have decreased from 366 to 320.
Worker Safety Remains a Top Priority for ACC
As previously stated, worker safety is a top priority for ACC, and we are always seeking different ideas to help protect employees at the workplace. ACC’s OSHA Alliance provides members, occupational physicians, stakeholders, and others with resources, information, and guidance on workplace safety. For more information on how ACC is helping further protect workers and promote workplace safety, visit the ACC OSHA Alliance website.
In addition, all ACC members participate in Responsible Care®, the chemical industry’s world-class environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. Through Responsible Care®, companies report their progress on a variety of process safety-related performance measures each year, which ACC makes publically available on its website. Companies that participate in Responsible Care® have employee safety records nearly five times better than the U.S. manufacturing sector, and almost three times better than the U.S. business of chemistry overall.
Follow along on Twitter (@AmChemistry), where, throughout the week, ACC will be sharing tips and resources on how to best protect workers from fall hazards. Also make sure to share your Stand-Down story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandDown4Safety.