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Plan Ahead: Seventh Annual Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Re-scheduled for September 14-18

August 14, 2020
NIOSH Update:

Press Contact: Nura Sadeghpour 202-245-0673

Stand Down Banner

It’s on. Harness your efforts and join the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in this year’s National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Between September 14-18, thousands of employers across the country and internationally will voluntarily pause and stand down for the safety of construction workers. Virtually or at a safe distance, they will use tools and resources to highlight ways workers can prevent falls from heights on the job.

Falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry. Since 2014, NIOSH has worked with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training to develop and promote a National Stand-Down which has gained momentum from the success and participation of the years before. The message that falls are entirely preventable has gained traction.

“This national initiative brings much needed attention to falls, which continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in construction,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Since OSHA began doing fall prevention stand-down events six years ago, nearly 10 million workers have been reached by the message that falls are preventable. These efforts have been successful in raising awareness of the recognition, evaluation, and control of fall hazards.”

Plan Provide Train infographic

While fatal construction falls increased in 2014 and 2015, reaching a peak in 2016, there has been a steady decline since 2017 in fatal falls from specifically: structures and surfaces, scaffolds, staging, ladders and roofs. And even so, 2020 has brought with it a new challenge.

“The global pandemic has changed the landscape in which work is done, and the importance of addressing traditional hazards on construction sites while protecting workers against the virus is paramount,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This year’s Stand-Down adapts to those needs, and employers who choose to safely set aside time during the workday to educate their workers can become part of a collective community that responds to the needs of the time.”

It is easy to join the Stand-Down. Educational materials and resources in both English and Spanish can be used to plan a safety day, provide a presentation hour, or safely train workers through interactive toolbox talks and many other activities, raising awareness and capacity:

Guidelines for hosting events and gatherings, as well as a handy checklist and planning tool to plan your stand-down event, are also available.

Causes of Falls infographic

“As our nation’s construction workers continue or return to work during the ongoing pandemic, protecting them from exposure to the virus is a top priority,” said CPWR Executive Director Chris Trahan Cain.  “However, we must not forget about the serious safety hazards such as falls that our industry faces on a daily basis. Participating in the Stand-Down – virtually or at a safe social distance – is a perfect opportunity to clock in with workers about fall risks, prevention, and protection.”

Participating employers will earn their firm a Certificate of Participation which can be displayed at the worksite and will help evaluate the reach and impact of the National Stand-Down.

For a full breadth of Stand-Down resources from all partners, and more information about how to plan and what to expect, please visit CPWR and the One Stop Stand-Down Shop, OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down page, and NIOSH’s Prevent Falls in Construction webpage of tools and information.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit