A failure to provide workers with adequate fall protection is the violation cited most frequently by OSHA inspectors. Each year, hundreds of construction workers are killed in falls, which is why OSHA and its partners set aside this week, May 8-12, as a “National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down ” to encourage employers to pause during the workday and revisit safety topics.
Given the high number of fall-related fatalities among construction workers, that industry serves as the natural focus  of this week’s events, but the stand-down carries worthwhile reminders for those overseeing safety in healthcare settings as well.
Late last year, OSHA cited Jersey City Medical Center RWJ Barnabas Health with one willful and four serious safety violations, proposing a penalty of nearly $175,000 after a maintenance worker was electrocuted while working on a 6-foot A-frame ladder. The worker, who fractured multiple bones and sustained a subdural hematoma , died from the injuries more than two weeks after the fall. Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office, called the death “tragic” and “preventable.” 
Employers who hope to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths are encouraged this week to have conversations with their workers about hazards and protection. To that end, OSHA assembled a website, www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/ . The free resources available on the site include fall-prevention training guides in English and Spanish and a downloadable version of Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely , a document that details proper ladder usage.
Will you pause this week for a fall prevention stand-down? If not, you should consider working these resources into your future training sessions. The emphasis may be only a week long, but the hazards exist year-round.