Powering Strong Communities

National Safety Stand-Down Raises Fall Hazard Awareness for Public Power Utilities

The 10th Annual National Safety Stand-Down will take place this year from May 1 through May 5. Employers across the nation will participate in this event to raise fall hazard awareness in an effort to prevent fall fatalities and injuries. 

APPA is asking all public power utilities to participate in this year’s stand-down to prevent falls at utility operations across the nation.

According to the US Department of Labor (DOL) Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 37% of all deaths in the workplace occurred due to employees falling. This includes workers who have fallen due to unprotected sides or holes, improperly constructed walking or working surfaces, workers who have fallen off ladders, roofs, scaffolding, large skyscraper construction areas, etc., all due to failure to use proper fall protection. Incorporating the OSHA fall protection requirements and creating your own utility policy would help to resolve these issues. Remember, OSHA requires employers to provide fall protection to keep employees safe and prevent falls.

APPA recently received grant funding under the DOL OSHA Susan Harwood Training program to educate utility workers of the importance of fall prevention. Over the last 18 months, APPA trained over 1,300 workers at seven public power utility operations across the nation. The underlying message was understanding the basics of fall protection and emphasizing its importance can mean the difference between your employees going home every night or a trip to the emergency room. Ultimately, by incorporating fall protection programs at your utility you can reduce the number of workers sustaining injuries. Having a fall protection program can save lives!

Keep in mind, a safety stand-down doesn’t mean that work stops, but we are encouraging public power utilities to take time to do some fall prevention training. Jeff Haas, Acting President and CEO, for APPA states, “A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for leaders and managers to talk directly to employees about safety. During this time, public power utilities can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. If your operation has employees, contractors, team members, or volunteers that work at elevated heights or use ladders, please consider participating in the Safety Stand-Down this year. Although we are centering the week’s awareness on falls from heights, you should also consider slips and trips in the workplace.”

So, what can you do to reduce falls? During this Annual National Safety Stand-Down, you can start by thinking about potential fall hazards in your operations. By anticipating the risk, it enables you to implement the proper fall protection before injuries occur. This process is often referred to as a hazard assessment. Take time to analyze the different ways a worker might fall and how you can counteract the situation. It is important that your employees know what to do if there is a fall. Knowing what to do can be the difference between life and death for a worker. As you take time to raise the awareness of fall hazards, remind workers of your procedures and protocols on how to respond to a fall or workplace incident.

Please join APPA this year as a public power utility and standup for the Annual National Safety Stand-Down to raise fall hazard awareness, May 1-5. For further information, please contact APPA Safety at [email protected].

Stay Safe!