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Published: June, 2004; Vol 1, Num 1




Scott Schneider

Every week , over 20 construction workers are killed on the jobin the U.S. Is it possible for us to go one week without a construction fatality? If so, it would be a tremendous accomplishment. How would we do it? Everyone in the industry and government would be challenged to think creatively and work harder to meet the goal. We think it is doable, but it would take a lot of planning and hard work.

Here are some things it might include:

  • Focus on those areas and parts of the industry where there has been the largest number of fatalities.
  • Do a lot of outreach and education the two to three months before the week to every conceivable group (including church groups).
  • Plan an enforcement blitz during that week. Get the word out that OSHA will be out in force.
  • Have every contractor do a walk-around their site every day or even twice a day. Provide them with walk-around checklists to focus on the top dangers for fatalities.
  • Have every contractor deliver a toolbox talk each day that week. Provide them with toolbox talks on the five to seven most common causes of fatalities.
  • Conduct a public media campaign on radio and TV and billboards with the slogan "Everybody Home Safe."
  • Post articles in every industry trade magazine.

Just like the Zero Injury programs, we need to raise the bar and our expectations. If we can actually go one week without any fatalities, then perhaps we could go two weeks the following year, or even more. It is a start. It would not be easy, but it may help focus everyone's attention on the problem and solutions. We could plan it for the first week of May 2005 to give us time to do it and have it coincide with Occupational Safety and Health Week next year and Worker's Memorial Day (April 28).

Let's see if we could do it!



What Do You Think?

At the May Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health meeting, LHSFNA OSH Division Director Scott Schneider proposed that the American construction industry and OSHA plan a campaign next year aiming for one whole week without a single construction fatality.

What do you think of the idea? Would it help raise consciousness? What would it take to pull it off?

Send us your comments or suggestions at

[Steve Clark]