National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls

May 09, 2016

In 2014, almost 40% of all construction fatalities were fall related, and all of these deaths were preventable.

Falls continue to be the construction industry's leading cause of death; each year, hundreds of workers die and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries.

"The men and women working in the construction industry drive our nation's growth and prosperity. We rely on them to build our homes, our roads and our communities," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "They deserve access to the equipment, training and resources available to prevent falls and the tragedy they can inflict. I encourage everyone to join the 2016 National Safety Stand-Down and help ensure that no one's livelihood is a matter of life or death."

OSHA and thousands of employers nationwide participated in 2016's Stand-Down events. The agency launched its first National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in 2014. Thousands of companies and more than 2.5 million workers took part in the Stand-Down in 2015, making it the largest occupational safety event ever hosted.

A typical Stand-Down allows companies to stop work at a designated time to discuss and demonstrate how to the best prevent falls, and to encourage workers to apply these methods consistently.

"Our nation and our economy should not be built on the backs of fallen and injured workers," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls is an opportunity to reach millions of workers and bring employers, unions and other organizations together to show their commitment to safety and to ensure construction workers end their shift safe, healthy and ready to return home."


The construction industry sees the highest frequency of fall-related deaths and serious, sometimes debilitating injuries," said Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH. "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."

Orlando RCRA and DOT Training


Hilton Head RCRA and DOT Training


Baltimore RCRA, DOT, and IATA Training


How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on safety data sheets.


Lack of Machine Guarding at Industrial Packaging Corp. Leads to Amputation

Federal safety investigators have determined the amputation of a 23-year-old worker's three fingertips was preventable if an Arcadia, Wisconsin, corrugated cardboard manufacturer had trained workers in proper safety procedures to prevent the chopping blade from operating while clearing a jam.


"Training workers and using blocking and locking devices, as required by OSHA standards, would have prevented this young man's hands from coming in contact with the operating parts of the machine," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Workers should never reach inside the danger zone of a machine without de-energizing it and using lockout/tag out procedures to prevent a sudden startup."

Investigators determined energy sources to the chopping blade were not isolated on November 3, 2015, allowing it to cycle as the employee was attempting to clear a jam with his hand inside the machine's operating zone.

The agency also found Industrial Packing Corporation failed to:

  • Train workers on the wear and use of cut resistant gloves
  • Place chopper and notcher blades in safe positions during set-up and maintenance
  • Review energy control procedures with employees at least annually
  • Install adequate machine guarding on blades, sprocket wheels, and chains and horizontal shafts

Since January 1, 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report any severe work-related injury—defined as a hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye—within 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, Wisconsin employers reported 157 amputations.

US Postal Service Fined $120,000 for Continually Exposing Workers to Powered Industrial Equipment Hazards

OSHA opened an inspection of the U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in Sandston, Virginia, on October 27, 2015, after a complaint alleged hazards involving powered industrial equipment at the facility. Inspectors issued citations after they found the employer:

  • Allowed employees to operate powered industrial equipment despite the fact the equipment was not inspected or examined for defects after each shift
  • Permitted employees to operate powered industrial vehicles without use of a seatbelt
  • Allowed employees to operate powered industrial equipment in aisles clearly marked for wheeled mailed carts, exposing workers to struck-by or caught-between hazards
  • Failed to provide employees with training to ensure they were competent to operate the equipment
  • Let employees improperly tow wheeled carts using powered pallet jacks

OSHA cited the U.S. Postal Service for similar hazards in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

"Every year, thousands of workers are injured—some fatally—while operating powered industrial equipment," said Stan Dutko Jr., OSHA's area director in Norfolk. "It is every employer's responsibility to provide its employees with safe and healthful workplaces. Prompt and effective corrective action must be taken."

Proposed penalties total $120,000.

Absence of Proper Safety Guards Led to Amputation at Custom Aluminum Products

The amputation of a 21-year-old temporary worker's six fingers was preventable if his South Elgin, Illinois, employer had installed proper safety guards to keep the operator's hands out of the metal press' danger zone, federal inspectors found.

OSHA inspectors responded after the November 4, 2015, incident at Custom Aluminum Products. An investigation determined the worker, employed just four weeks, suffered the loss of his ring, middle, and index fingers and part of his right pinky finger when his hands became caught as he hand-fed parts into an aluminum press.


"It's hard to imagine the agony and pain this young man suffered when six of his fingers were amputated," said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in Aurora. "His life is now forever altered because the press lacked required safe guarding devices. These devices would have prevented his hands from coming in contact with the operating parts of the machine."

Since January 1, 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report any severe work-related injury—defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye—within 24 hours. The requirement that an employer report a workplace fatality within eight hours remains in force. In the first full year of the program, Illinois employers reported 173 amputations. 

Acme Parts Inc. Fined $105,600 for Exposing Workers to Dangerous Lead, Noise, and Chemical Hazards


"An elevated level of lead in a worker's bloodstream is a serious health matter, and a sign that employees are not being adequately protected against exposure to this hazardous substance. Lead can damage the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

Specifically, OSHA found that the company failed to:

  • Train employees about lead hazards and provide them proper protective clothing
  • Prevent lead from accumulating on surfaces in the plant
  • Prohibit employees from consuming food and drink in lead contaminated areas
  • Conduct initial monitoring to determine employees' lead exposure levels

 These violations encompassed:

  • Not instituting controls to reduce noise levels
  • Not providing employees a choice for hearing protection
  • Lack of proper training, supervision and fittings for hearing protectors

Finally, Acme Parts failed to review, post the annual summary, and certify its 2015 OSHA illness and injury log.

Proposed fines total $105,600.

"An employer is responsible for providing effective safeguards. This was not the case at Acme Parts," said Gee. "For the health and well-being of its employees, this company must take and maintain corrective actions to eliminate these hazards, prevent their recurrence and maintain a healthful place of employment."

Essroc Cement Corp. Fined $92,000 for Exposing Workers to Machine, Noise, and Respiratory Hazards



Investigators found the company failed to:

  • Maintain dry, clean floors

"Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from exposure to noise and respiratory hazards that can lead to debilitating health conditions," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Essroc needs to immediately re-evaluate its safety and health programs to keep workers safe on the job."

Proposed penalties total $92,000.

OG Plumbing LLC Fined $69,300 for Exposing Workers to Cave-in Hazards



"An unprotected trench can bury a worker under thousands of pounds of soil in seconds and cause severe or fatal injuries," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at its Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. "Since 2000, OSHA has cited OG Plumbing five times for violating federal trenching standards. The company knows that every trench deeper than 5 feet must have cave-in protection."

Proposed penalties total $69,300.

US GreenFiber LLC Exposed Workers to Combustible Dust, Other Hazards


OSHA's October 30, 2015, a complaint inspection determined insulation manufacturer US GreenFiber, LLC, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, failed to protect employees from deflagration, fire, and spark hazards by ensuring dust-handling equipment had explosion protection systems such as deflagration venting, automatic suppression, and fire/detection systems. The willful citation was cited for these hazards.

Accumulations of cellulose fiber dust on equipment or surfaces, unguarded platforms, lack of fire extinguisher training, and employees exposed to crushing hazards resulted in serious citations.

The other-than-serious violations involved employees allowed to wear dust mask respirators and work with hazardous chemicals without proper training.

"OSHA cited US GreenFiber in 2010 for the same combustible dust hazards at the company's plant in Ohio. Once again, we have found this company continues to jeopardize its workers' safety by failing to implement necessary safeguards. This disregard of safety standards is unacceptable," said Mark Stelmack, OSHA's area director in Wilkes-Barre.

Proposed penalties total $66,600.

Cajamarca Construction Corp. Repeatedly Exposes Workers to Falls


An OSHA compliance officer opened an inspection after driving by the site and seeing employees of the siding and roofing company exposed to 28-foot falls without fall protection as they did roof work.

The willful violation was cited because the employer failed to use the fall protection equipment that was on site and available for use.

Lack of head protection and improper use of portable ladders to access upper landings, in which the ladders did not extend beyond the landings by the required 3 feet, resulted in the repeat citations.

The serious violation was due to the employer's failure to provide workers with eye protection while they used powered nail guns.

OSHA has cited Cajamarca Construction Corp., eight times since 2009. The company was previously cited for fall and scaffolding hazards and has been fined $60,020 in penalties.

"Given Cajamarca's OSHA history in New Jersey and New York City, it is only a matter of time before one of its workers falls to their death," said Kris Hoffman, OSHA's area director in Parsippany. "This company's callous disregard for worker safety, in an industry where falls are the leading cause of death, is intolerable."

Proposed penalties total $51,040.

The Scoular Company Fined $47,300 for Exposing Workers to Grain Dust, Fall Hazards


The inspection found:

  • The employer failed to implement housekeeping procedures to prevent grain dust accumulation in priority and non-priority areas.
  • Housekeeping procedures did not address removing grain and other products spills form the work area exposing workers to tripping hazards.

"Grain dust accumulation must be controlled to prevent a fuel source in bins from igniting in proximity to operating conveyors, augers and other equipment," said Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita. "OSHA grain handling standards address the numerous serious and life threatening hazards found in grain bins including grain dust explosions, engulfment and entrapment from flowing grain, falls and amputation hazards. These common sense safety standards protect workers on the job in this hazardous industry."

Proposed penalties total $47,300.

Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning Fails to Protect Workers from Falls

Two employees of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning and General Contracting of Massachusetts were doing their job atop a roof at 19 Columbus St. in Newton on November 29, 2015, when one of them fell. He initially a hit a lower roof 11 feet below then fell another 15 feet to the ground and was injured. An inspection by OSHA found that his fall was preventable if his employer ensured the use of proper and effective safeguards.

“Fall hazards are a persistent and common violation, one we encounter almost daily. Falls are a leading cause of death, particularly among workers in construction. What’s frustrating is that falls are among the most easily preventable of hazards, but only if employers provide and ensure the use of fall protection every day at every workplace,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Middlesex and Essex counties.

In the Newton case, Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning failed to ensure the use of protective equipment when the workers went atop the roof and also failed to guard two skylights through which the workers could also have fallen. OSHA had also previously cited the company in 2014 for lack of protective equipment at a Leonia, New Jersey, jobsite. Proposed fines total $45,500.

Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in construction work. Two workers in Middlesex County died in work-related falls between October 2014 and October 2015. 

Edge Plastics Inc. Exposed Workers to Machine, Electrical Hazards


During its investigation, the agency found the employer:

  • Exposed workers in plastic injection molding operations as guard rails and ladders were inadequate
  • Not training workers adequately in electrical safety related work practices

"Common sense safety procedures like powering down equipment and preventing unintentional movement can protect maintenance workers from amputation and other serious injuries," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Employers like Edge Plastics must review their safety and health procedures and make immediate improvements to protect workers on the job."

Proposed penalties total $43,200.

CSX Transportation Inc. Retaliated Against Employee, Ordered to Pay Over $32,000 in Damages


The employee, who was acting in his capacity as a union official, provided the plant superintendent with a letter on September 6, 2013, detailing the alleged violations and the union's intention to withdraw its support of the shop's safety committee because of the violations.

Management issued the employee a five-day suspension on December 18, 2013, for an alleged safety infraction. The employee filed a complaint with OSHA on March 18, 2014. OSHA's investigation found merit in the complaint and has now ordered the Florida-based commercial rail carrier to pay punitive damages and attorney's fees to the worker and take additional corrective action.

"While CSX subsequently reversed the suspension, it was an adverse action that never should have happened in the first place. This worker was clearly doing his duty, alerting management to employees' safety concerns. The company's retaliation needlessly cost him time, money and distress," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "As part of our findings, and in an effort to stop future violations, we are ordering CSX to have its Selkirk managers submit to training about the law and the rights it provides to their employees."

Specifically, the findings order CSX to:

  • Pay the employee $27,735 in attorney's fees and $5,000 in punitive damages
  • Expunge the employee's employment records of his suspension and his exercise of his FRSA rights
  • Not retaliate or discriminate against the employee in any manner for his FRSA-related actions
  • Have all managers at CSX's Selkirk facility receive OSHA-provided training on FRSA and the rights it provides their employees
  • Train all new hires on FRSA and employee rights
  • Immediately post in the workplace and electronically a notice to employees of their FRSA rights



Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. 

Integrated Life Choices Inc. Exposed Employees to Workplace Violence



The client's aggression exceeded the threshold of training workers had received to deal with potential violent clients and compromised their personal safety and ability to control the situation.

A review of injury logs from January 2012 through November 2015, recorded 105 incidents of workplace violence at the facility.


Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.

"Professionals who provide compassionate care for developmentally challenged citizens deserve to be protected on the job," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in Omaha. “These workers routinely cope with stressful situations. Their employer must use common-sense safety measures so they can continue to provide care to those in need and stay safe while they do so."

Proposed penalties total $12,000.

Brookville Roofing Manufacturer Named STAR in State Workplace Safety & Health Program

Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC, located in Brookville, Indiana, achieved certification in the Indiana Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) as a STAR worksite for excellence in workplace safety and health.

Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC, Brookville is a fiberglass/asphalt roofing shingle manufacturer with 84 employees. The plant supplies shingles to Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. The Brookville location is one of 14 Owens Corning plants in the United States enrolled in the VPP and joins three other STAR locations that have accomplished outstanding workplace safety and health cultures.

“This facility is a shining ‘STAR,’ not just for workplace safety and health, but for the state of Indiana as a whole,” said Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) Commissioner Rick J. Ruble. “Employees at Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC, Brookville are not just protected through their safety practices, they’re involved and motivated to keep up with expectations.”

Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC, Brookville’s workplace injury and illness rate is 99% below the industry average. Between 2012 and 2014, the site only had one recordable injury.

Owens Corning is a $5.4 billion global industry leader with 16,000 employees around the world with manufacturing, sales, and research facilities in 25 countries.

MIOSHA and the American Society of Safety Engineers' Michigan Renew Alliance to Protect Workers and Enhance Safety

The American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Greater Detroit, Lansing, and West Michigan Chapters, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) renewed their formal alliance to continue to provide their collective occupational safety, health and environmental expertise in all industries to help protect the safety and health of Michigan workers. The MIOSHA program is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

“The ASSE is a trusted alliance partner that LARA and MIOSHA are proud to collaborate with to help safeguard Michigan’s workforce,” said LARA Deputy Director Wanda Stokes.

MIOSHA worker safety alliance The alliance builds upon the working relationship between MIOSHA and the ASSE chapters to develop and disseminate information that helps protect the safety and health of Michigan workers through outreach and communication, as well as reinforce safety as a priority among employers and management. MIOSHA looks forward to continuing its long-standing relationship with ASSE's Michigan chapters to protect the safety and health of our state’s workers," said MIOSHA Acting Director Bart Pickelman. "Maintaining this alliance ensures the continued sharing of information and best practices with the common goal of creating safer, healthier workplaces throughout Michigan."

The alliance was signed by: MIOSHA Acting Director Bart Pickelman, MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division Director Nella Davis-Ray, ASSE Greater Detroit Chapter President Jessica Jannaman, ASSE West Michigan Chapter President Mingyu Wu, and ASSE Lansing Chapter President Robert Kirkby.

Alliances enable organizations committed to workplace safety and health to collaborate with MIOSHA to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. The key goals of this alliance include:

  • Improve communication and cooperation between Chapter members and MIOSHA, resulting in improved program delivery and understanding
  • Have chapter member firms directly involved in consultation/hazard surveys offered by MIOSHA CET consultants
  • Increase awareness of MIOSHA and the outreach services the CET Division offers
  • Increase MIOSHA coverage in chapter publications and information about the alliance in MIOSHA publications
  • Produce safer, better-trained chapter members and the employees of their respective companies

“The ASSE Michigan Chapters represent hundreds of safety professionals from across the state,” said Lansing Chapter President Robert Kirkby. “Our Alliance with MIOSHA is a very important tool for helping our members support our profession and improve our ability to create safe, healthy, and productive work environments.”

MSU, Barton Malow, and MIOSHA Partner at FRIB to Raise Awareness of Preventing Falls in Construction


While program-related fatalities have decreased by 67% from 1999 to 2015, falls from elevation, including roofs, ladders, and scaffolding continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers in the state and nation. Between 2010 and 2015, nearly 41% of the fatalities in Michigan’s construction industry consisted of falls. This year, Michigan’s construction industry has had three fatalities, one of which was caused by a fall.

As Michigan enters the construction season, MIOSHA is reminding employers and workers that these deaths are preventable by planning, providing the proper safety equipment, and training employees,” said MIOSHA Acting Director Bart Pickelman.

In 2015, a Davis Construction, Inc., employee’s life was saved by a horizontal lifeline system purchased with grant money from MIOSHA. The employee was working on a bridge over US 131 when he fell over the side. The system worked exactly as it was supposed to, allowing crew members to retrieve the employee and return him safely back to work.

Employees working six feet or more above a lower level are required to use guardrails, safety nets, or a personal fall arrest system. When conventional fall protection is not feasible, or creates a greater hazard, a written site-specific plan may be used.

The partners were joined by approximately 200 workers working on the facility to hear remarks from MIOSHA and Barton Malow representatives, and engage in employee trainings and a demonstration on proper fall protection and safety awareness.

Throughout the week, MIOSHA is partnering with employers across the state to host stand-downs to better reach Michigan workers about fall prevention in the workplace.

Under construction on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes—short-lived nuclei no longer found on Earth. FRIB will be a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science scientific user facility, supporting the mission of the Office of Nuclear Physics. FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of these rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society.

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