Focusing on Workplace Safety

Approximately 800 construction workers and U-M staff gather on the Diag to refresh their commitment to the prevention of falls and other construction hazards.


Ty Patton of Environment, Health & Safety demonstrates scaffold construction and safety at a plumbing shop training using a ⅓-scale model of a common scaffold. The model has all the features of real scaffolding, providing a hands-on opportunity to see and check off the steps of assembly and inspection.

What comes to mind when you think of workplace safety? On-the-job falls pose a hazard to many Facilities and Operations staff who work in construction, maintenance, or cleaning.

Although falls are the number one source of workplace fatalities in the construction industry, they are preventable with the right training, equipment, and procedures. F&O focused on fall prevention for the National Safety Stand-Down during the week of May 6-10, building on the occasion by emphasizing safety in all aspects of university work.



U-M Construction Safety Specialist Matt Kettman emphasizes planning the job and having the right equipment.

Highlights of safety stand-down activities across F&O include:

  • A construction safety event on the Diag with talks by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and U-M’s construction safety specialist
  • Training for bus drivers on safely navigating detours during summer construction season
  • A brown bag lunch session on desk work ergonomics
  • Roof and ladder safety for custodians, grounds staff, and utility staff
  • Scaffold safety training for a plumbing shop
  • Mechanical room safety for staff who regularly enter these spaces

Throughout the week, F&O staff were encouraged to reinforce their safety skills, communicate about prevention, and simply spend a moment focusing on the important role that safety plays in preventing injuries on the job.