The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and a host of other safety organizations are sponsoring a safety stand-down May 4-15 to prevent falls in construction.

“The purpose of the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down is to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction,” OSHA said on a website dedicated to the event (https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/resources.html). “Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 279 of the 806 construction fatalities recorded in 2012.”

OSHA hopes the event, which is voluntary, will result in instruction in fall prevention procedures to more than three million construction workers at over 20,000 stand- downs. If that goal is met, almost four out of 10 construction workers in the country will have been reached, the agency said. A week-long fall prevention safety stand-down last year – the first of its kind and described by OSHA as the largest occupational safety event ever held – reached more than one million workers through nearly 5,000 stand-downs.

This year’s event focuses on fall hazards, which were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards during fiscal year 2014. The agency suggested that companies take the opportunity to conduct such activities as giving toolbox talks, conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific hazards.

The event is open to any employer in or outside of the construction industry that is interested in preventing falls in the workplace. Last year, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. military, other government participants, unions, employer's trade associations, institutes, worker interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.

Following the event, participating employers will be able to provide feedback about their stand-down and download a Certificate of Participation signed by Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.

"No child should lose a parent, no wife should lose a husband and no worker should lose their life in a preventable fall," said Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH, an event co-sponsor. "The Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for worksites to recognize the hazards that cause them, train employers and workers how to avoid them so that these senseless tragedies can be prevented once and for all."

Other partners include the National Occupational Research Agenda, Center for Construction Research and Training, American Society for Safety Engineers, National Safety Council, National Construction Safety Executives, U.S. Air Force, OSHA-approved state plans, state consultation programs, and OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.