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Tips to mitigate the risk of dropped or falling objects

by GRIPPS Global 11 Apr 2024

No matter how diligent you may be in maintaining a secure work environment, workplace injuries can still occur. Dropped or falling objects such as tools, materials, and debris pose a constant risk, leading to minor injuries like cuts and abrasions, as well as more severe ones like puncture wounds or concussions. In some cases, especially if workers are not wearing hard hats, a dropped or falling object can result in hospitalisation or even fatality.

To mitigate the risk of falling objects at the worksite, safety precautions can be put in place. Here are five safety tips that can be easily implemented:

Secure all tools and equipment

Unsecured tools, materials and equipment pose a potential danger as it can be dislodged from elevated surfaces, posing a threat to both workers and bystanders below. It is important for workers to establish a consistent practice of securing all equipment and tools during use and at the conclusion of each workday. Utilise tool tethers (lanyards) to fasten tools and equipment securely, mitigating the risk of falling. Furthermore, conduct regular inspections of tools and equipment to ensure they remain in a safe and functional condition. Promptly address any observed damage to equipment or its protective components by seeking repairs or replacements.

Provide and enforce personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE safeguards workers against potential hazards in the workplace. Properly fitting hard hats are essential for both workers and site visitors. In locations with limited visibility, or during nighttime activities, individuals should additionally don bright vests or reflective gear. It is advisable to wear PPE even in areas where it is not mandatory, as this ensures easy identification and provides proper protection against unforeseen dropped or falling objects.

Use barricades and signs to mark off work zones

One of the best ways to reduce the risk is to properly barricade areas that have a risk of dropped or falling objects. It will also help other team members, site visitors, and bystanders know not to enter marked areas that could be dangerous. Set up signs and barricades around elevated work zones to alert people below to keep an eye out for falling objects. Ensure barricades are sturdy enough to withstand strong winds or any other type of impact that could knock them over or blow them away.

Establish a clear communication system

In bustling and noisy work environments, effective communication can be a challenge. Implementing robust communication systems is crucial to prevent accidental injuries. Utilise a variety of tools such as hand signals, warning lights, two-way radios, overhead speakers, shorthand terminology, and danger words to effectively convey information about potential hazards to your workforce.

Provide specialised training

Ensuring the safety of the worksite involves essential elements such as providing ongoing training and conducting refresher courses. It is crucial to regularly offer safety training sessions, perform risk assessments, and engage in discussions about personal protective equipment (PPE). Establish protocols to prevent untrained, inadequately credentialed, or unauthorised workers from engaging in specific tasks or entering designated areas. Foster a culture of open communication, encouraging workers to discuss and stay informed about each other's tasks and potential risks within their respective areas.

It is important to ensure that workers have the right tools and accessories. If required, tools, accessories and consumables should be changed before a worker starts working at height. (Chicago Pneumatic, 2019).

Whether you have a small group or several hundred workers, GRIPPS® provide the flexibility and resources you require to ensure your workers are educated in essential tool tethering and drop prevention safety. Our industry-leading drop prevention training course is designed to teach workers the potentially life-threatening nature of dropped and falling objects and how to best avoid such risks on worksites. Suitable for beginners with no prior knowledge of tool tethering, our course will empower your workers to have first-hand knowledge of industry best practices for tool tethering safety.

Contact GRIPPS® today to find out how our online training solutions will help your goal of creating a safer workplace.

Sources:

Chicago Pneumatic. (2019, October 28). How to avoid falling objects when working at heights. Retrieved from https://tools.cp.com/en-au/expert-corner/blog/how-to-avoid-falling-objects-when-working-at-heights

Frankenmuth Insurance. (2023, June 1). Avoiding OSHA’s Fatal Four: 5 tips to prevent being struck by an object. Retrieved from https://www.fmins.com/blog/struck-by-an-object/

WillScot Solutions. (2023). 10 Tips for Preventing Falling Object Injuries. Retrieved from https://blog.willscot.com/willscot-solutions/10-tips-for-preventing-falling-object-injuries/

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