5th Annual National Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Posted on by CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH, and Christine Branche, PhD, FACE
Photo Credit: Turner Construction, Earl Dotter

Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction. In 2016, there were 370 fall fatalities out of 991 total fatalities in construction. There were more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry in the United States in 2015, accounting for 20% of the nation’s 4,836 work-related deaths that year. According to the CPWR-the Center for Construction Research and Training, from 2011-2015, 61% of fatal falls in construction occurred in small businesses with fewer than 10 employees (see figure 1). Falls account for 37% of the work-related deaths suffered by construction workers. Almost two-thirds of those fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds, and ladders.

These falls are preventable. This National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction was launched on April 26, 2012. The Campaign encourages everyone in the construction industry to work safely and use the right equipment to reduce falls (see figure 2). This year marks the 5th year of the National Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. We are asking employers to join our ongoing campaign and participate in the National Safety Stand-Down during the week of May 7-11. Set aside time during that week to have an open discussion with your employees about falls and how to prevent them.  Over the last few years, thousands of companies have participated in the Stand-Down reaching millions of employees across all 50 states and internationally. Since the fall stand-down started, over 7.5 million people have stood down in the U.S.


Figure 1

What Can You Do?

  • Construction contractors can prevent falls from heights on their worksites.
    • Plan ahead to do the job safely before starting each and every job.
    • Provide the right equipment for working at heights.
    • Training workers to use the equipment properly and to work safely on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds.
  • Watch our playlist of videos that gives insight into fall safety in the construction industry through many perspectives, from owner to safety professional, to worker.
  • Participate in the Stand Down.
    • Start with visiting stopconstructionfalls.com for posters, training materials, and more information about how to be a partner in the campaign.
    • View and download the new 2018 (and past year’s) infographics available in English and soon in Spanish as PDFs or JPEGs for use in social media, presentations, and print materials (see figures 1 and 2). These infographics were developed by NIOSH and CPWR to raise awareness of the risk of falls in construction and provide steps for prevention.
    • Order free hardhat stickers and hazard alert cards on ladders, scaffolds, fall harness, or aerial lifts.

Figure 2

You can also:

  • Post the 2018 National Stand Down posters in English or Spanish
  • Check your ladder – NIOSH Ladder Safety App.
  • Get the word out! Put a campaign link on your website, an announcement in your newsletter, a post on your social media account including #StandDown4Safety. Follow @NIOSHConstruct on Twitter and re-tweet the latest campaign news.
  • Produce and distribute campaign materials: learn how “How-to Guide for Building a Local” Campaign [564 KB]
  • Reach out to new partners including government, labor, and industry.
  • Seek new ways to reach those most disproportionately at risk, small residential contractors.
  • Assist with evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign.
  • Share your success story! If you put on a successful Stand-Down and would like us to publish your story, let us know here.


CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH, is Assistant Coordinator for the Construction Sector in the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health.

Christine Branche, PhD, FACE, is the Principal Associate Director of NIOSH and the Director of the Office of Construction Safety and Health.


More Information

Posted on by CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH, and Christine Branche, PhD, FACE

4 comments on “5th Annual National Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    This is a great post. I really appreciate the statistics and info graphics. One or two stories about workers seriously injured or killed in a fall would be helpful, and you may want to think about the term “safety man”.

    Thank you for your suggestion to include fall fatality or injury stories on the blog. We will keep that in mind for next year’s blog. In the meantime, the NIOSH FACE (Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation) Program identifies and studies fatal occupational injuries with the goal of preventing future fatalities. You can search the FACE database for “Residential Construction Falls” or “Commercial Construction Falls” for real-life fall fatalities and the factors that led to those fatal injuries and recommendation for preventing similar deaths. There is also a “Face reports & Real-life Stories” link on the http://www.stopconstructionfalls.com main campaign site that contains real-life stories. Additionally, we have changed the blog text to “safety professional”. The old text came from the title of the video “A Safety Man’s Story”.

    This is a great post. I really appreciate the post and for or writing too. Thank you for your suggestion. Keep up the good work.

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Page last reviewed: April 23, 2018
Page last updated: April 23, 2018