Construction Risk Management: Ready for the OSHA Safety Stand-Down?

Posted by Noff Colabella on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 02:28 PM

construction-risk-managementAccording to – a website created by OSHA, NIOSH, and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) – falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. More than 200 workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured every year. Those are sobering statistics, and falls from height can be a tragic and financially draining nightmare for construction business owners.

With New York’s Scaffold Law, the stakes are even higher for New York construction firms.

The absolute liability standard imposed by New York’s Labor Law 240 – the Scaffold Law – has been strangling contractors and property owners for decades. Lawsuits have increased an astounding 500 percent since 1990 according to, with settlements virtually guaranteed and multimillion dollar settlements all too common.

As a result, the cost of insuring construction projects in New York can be as much as ten times higher than in other states.

That’s a powerful incentive to be serious about safety and preventing falls from height.

And that’s what the annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is all about. Every year, OSHA hosts the annual campaign to raise awareness about the hazards of falls in construction. This year’s campaign runs from May 4-15, 2015.

The fact is, falls from height can be prevented, and the annual National Safety Stand Down campaign is the ideal opportunity to bring your workers together and spend some time focusing on fall hazards and prevention.

construction-risk-managementHow does it work and what can you do?
The National Safety Stand Down is a completely voluntary event – there’s no cost and nothing to register for. Simply conduct your own Stand-Down activities from May 4-15, 2015. Any organization that wants to raise awareness about these hazards is welcome to participate, including commercial and residential construction contractors, subcontractors, industry trade associations, and safety equipment manufacturers.

There are many kinds of activities you can conduct with your employees such as “toolbox talks” about safety topics or specific job hazards, equipment inspections, emergency planning, or other safety training. If you need ideas, OSHA has a variety of resources available to help you plan your campaign including training materials, campaign posters, safety videos, and links to other information and resources. At the end of your campaign, you can share your experience with OSHA and download a Certificate of Participation at Stop Fall Stand Down.

If you’re involved in construction in New York, you have plenty of incentive to make safety a top priority. The annual Safety Stand-Down is the perfect time to augment your safety activities and keep fall prevention top of mind. After all, fall prevention safety standards are among the top ten most frequently cited violations according to OSHA. That’s one good reason the annual Stand-Downs are so vital. Last year's campaign was a huge success, reaching more than a million workers, and this year OSHA hopes to see more than 20,000 Stand-Downs involving more than three million workers.

Ready to launch your own campaign?
See the Getting Started website to get a simple, cost-free plan you can use or modify for your own Stand-Down campaign.

Don’t forget the right construction insurance protection
Safety can be a matter of life and death in the construction business, and it’s an even more expensive proposition in New York. That’s why you need the right New York construction insurance to protect every aspect of your operations. With more than 150 years of experience in the New York construction market, we know your business as well as anyone. Request a complimentary insurance quote today.