Finding Solutions for Difficult Problems
Difficult and persistent problems aren’t new, they’ve been with us forever. In construction, falls are one of those difficult problems. But most of those problems have solutions, even though the solutions can be hard to see, so setting aside time to focus on fall prevention could save one of your people from a fatal fall. Maybe one of your people will even find a new solution to the ongoing problem of falls in construction like Vesta and Anna found solutions to their problems.
Here are a couple of stories about real problems and crafty solutions used by ordinary people.
If you like duct tape, you can thank Vesta Stoudt. During World War II, Mrs. Stoudt packed ammunition boxes at a munitions plant in Illinois. She had to use paper tape and wax to seal the boxes. But the materials that made the boxes easy to ship also made them difficult to open quickly on the battlefield. So, she developed a sturdy cloth tape that was tearable. Unable to get her supervisors to approve the tape change, she wrote to President Roosevelt who ultimately approved her invention.
Before 1887, being caught in a burning building was a death sentence. But that year, fire safety changed when a woman named Anna Connelly patented the first fire escape. Her invention allowed people to safely cross over from burning buildings to neighboring buildings. Hopefully, you’ve never had to use a fire escape, but if you have, or ever need to, you can thank Anna Connelly.
What Is a Safety Stand-Down?
A safety stand-down is a dedicated time for discussion on safety, which you can fold into your regularly scheduled safety meetings or toolbox talks, or plan additional time to focus on the important topic of fall prevention and protection during the national hazard awareness event.
If you need material for your stand-down about fall safety, we have a special set of Weekly Safety Meetings tailored to Fall Prevention that includes Quizzes and Spanish versions.
National Safety Stand-Down Prevents Falls in Construction
Duct tape and the fire escape aren’t all-in-one safety solutions. They are components of a larger safety mindset. Likewise, we still haven’t found the one solution that will prevent all falls. Guardrails and personal fall arrest systems have made a huge difference, but we’re still losing between 300 and 400 people to falls each year.
We need to get people thinking about fall hazards and then looking for solutions to control them. OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction awareness event is a great opportunity to educate your people and to get them thinking about managing risk onsite.