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National construction workplace campaign highlights fall prevention

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A coalition of government agencies, industry, labor and other partners are conducting a national campaign targeting the persistent challenge of fall-related fatalities in the construction industry.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's third annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls campaign is taking place this week to raise awareness of preventable fall-related fatalities in the construction sector, according to an agency news release issued on Monday. Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry each year, responsible for nearly 40% of all fatalities, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

OSHA and thousands of employers nationwide will participate in Stand-Down events in which companies stop work at a designated time to discuss and demonstrate how to prevent falls and encourage workers to consistently take these preventative steps. OSHA's campaign website provides free information on how companies can conduct an event, receive a certification of participation after the event and access educational and training resources, including fact sheets in both English and Spanish.

The campaign is conducted in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and CPWR — The Center for Construction Research and Training in Silver Spring, Maryland. Insurer Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. is among the list of private-sector partners.

“The construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating injuries,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a statement. “Preventing falls benefits everyone. The National Safety Stand-Down serves as an important opportunity for both employers and workers to stop and take time in the workday to identify existing fall hazards, and then offer demonstrations and training to emphasize how to stay safe on the job.”