This week, companies and their employees will take time to “stand down” for safety on their job sites to reinforce the number one goal of keeping themselves and their fellow employees safe at work.
The Safety and Health Committee of the Chicagoland Associated General Contractors (CAGC) kicked off the annual event with 35 companies participating in “Safety Stand Down 2018” at 600 jobsites reaching 8000 employees. The Safety Stand Down promotes the importance of safety procedures to reduce safety-related injuries and fatalities.
This event runs from May 7 to 11 at participating construction sites around the Chicago area.
CAGC programs manager Stacey Kelly introduced the stand down to Chicago in 2013 with a a fall protection curriculum. “We want to stay true to our mission of delivering exceptional value to our members and one way is to support our firms who demonstrate their primary commitment of protecting its workforce,” she said in a statement. “This program is a win-win collaboration for owners, executive management, superintendents, and trades workers.”
Since the first Safety Stand Down in, the program has garnered national interest and been promoted annually across the country by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA was created by Congress in 1970 through the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which assures safe and healthy working conditions for women and men through enforcement of work standards, training, outreach, education and assistance.
Besides fall protection, CAGC has developed curricula on topics including pre-task planning, the importance of personal safety checklists, and struck-by/caught-in Prevention.
This year’s CAGC program is entitled ‘You are the Key to Your Safety’, which emphasizes that each worker is ultimately responsible for following proper procedures to maintain their own health. Most workplace injuries are caused by unsafe behaviors rather than unsafe conditions. In this stand down, former construction industry workers share their personal stories of significant injury and important realizations learned from their experiences.
The underlying theme of each story stresses that seemingly small oversights, distractions and shortcuts had catastrophic consequences and could have ultimately cost them their lives.
Aside from emphasizing the importance of not cutting corners and ignoring known procedure, the event also aims to educate the public about the second-largest industry in the country. “When construction is in the headlines, it’s often because something negative has happened. The Safety Stand Down is an opportunity for people to see the construction industry in a positive, collaborative and beneficial way,” Kelly said
Kelly and CAGC’s leadership say they hope the event serves to remind the men and women of the construction industry of one fundamental goal — putting safety above all else for workers to go home to their families at the end of each day.