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Obama administration emphasizes fall protection

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1 million U.S. workers and over 25,000 businesses are expected to participate in "safety stand-downs" in all 50 states this week to emphasize the importance of workplace safety and guarding against falls, the Obama administration said Monday.

"The economy is on the rebound, housing starts are on the rise and the summer construction season is getting underway. Now is the time to focus on this vital safety issue and make sure all construction workers come home at the end of every workday," Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez told a news media conference call.

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Almost 300 construction workers died in falls in 2012 and thousands more were injured, Perez said.

The Labor Department said 2012 statistics were used because they were the most up-to-date, confirmable ones available.

And it's not just the construction industry, Perez added. "Fatal falls and injuries touch workers in all kinds of jobs across the country."

The National Fall Safety Stand-Down was being organized by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). During the week-long observance, companies and workers are being asked to pause at some point during their workdays to talk about hazards of falls and how to prevent them.

David Michaels, the assistant labor secretary who heads OSHA, said the "lack of fall protection" is the most-frequently cited OSHA violation.

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