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OPP encourages observation of May 8-12 National Safety Stand-Down

May 1, 2017

The Office of Polar Programs is committed to promoting personal and organizational responsibility for safety in science, operations and all aspects of community life in the Polar Regions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has designated a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction for May 8-12, 2017. According to OSHA, falling from elevation remains a leading cause of death for construction workers and it is believed that all of those deaths were preventable.

Within the spirit of the National Safety Stand-Down, OPP 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.

The U.S. Antarctic and Arctic Programs deserve high praise for their overall safety record. The Arctic Program achieved and maintained a zero-injury statistic for falls from elevation and will continue its focus on ladder safety and fall prevention at U.S. and Greenland operating locations. The Antarctic Program is finalizing plans for modernization of McMurdo Station and there, as at all sites, construction safety and work at elevation will be a focus.

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.


Susanne M. LaFratta, Section Head for Polar Environment, Safety & Health

Paul Sheppard, Acting Section Head for Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics

Eric Saltzman, Section Head for Antarctic Sciences

Simon Stephenson, Section Head for Arctic Sciences

Kelly K. Falkner, Director, Office of Polar Programs

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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