National Safety Stand Down
National Science Foundation
Posted April 29, 2016
Dear Polar Participants,
The National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs is committed to promoting personal and organizational responsibility for safety in science, in operations, and in all aspects of community life in the Polar Regions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration designated May 2-6, 2016, as National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction. According to OSHA, falling from elevation is a leading cause of death for construction workers and it is believed that many if not all of those deaths were preventable.
Within the spirit of the National Safety Stand-Down, the Division of Polar Programs encourages all participants and employers in the Polar Regions to take time during this week to join workers all over the United States in identifying, reporting, assessing and addressing safety hazards in your work setting, and to keep safety in mind while performing your everyday activities.
We also want to highlight the U.S. Antarctic Program’s third annual “pause for safety” event at McMurdo Station during the 2015-2016 summer season. An Equipment Rodeo and Vehicle Safety Awareness event was a creative and fun way to involve the community in promoting vehicle safety. In the Arctic, altitude sickness is a challenge for many participants arriving at Summit Station, as the site is 10,660 feet above sea level. The Arctic Program instituted a Safety Stand-Down for arriving personnel, providing an opportunity for them to receive information on station resources and site-specific safety plans and hazard analyses specific to the operating season.
We appreciate the continuing efforts of all employers and participants to make safety a priority and encourage innovative events that will bring and keep “safety consciousness” at the forefront of all Arctic and Antarctic activities.
The Polar Programs Team
Susanne M. LaFratta, Section Head for Polar Environment, Safety & Health