Whether you work in manufacturing or construction, you are at risk from falling objects. In 2015 OSHA recorded 52,260 OSHA incidents in which a worker was struck by a falling object or equipment. That equates to 143 workers a day, 7 days a week.
The third leading cause of death in the workplace is contact with objects and equipment. A heavy percentage of these fatalities are being struck by objects dropped from above. Such sobering statistics lead to a simple question: how do we prevent falling objects?
Most companies have implemented a fall protection program for team members, however, they may have overlooked a drop prevention program for tools and equipment. Creating a fall protection program to include tools and equipment is considerably easier than creating a separate drop prevention program.
Tethers 101 — Fall Prevention for Tools
Attachment Points: Pay attention to attachment points. Ensure the tether doesn't restrict use of the tool or place your wrist at an awkward angle. Consider the weight and angle of the tool should you happen to drop it?
- Load Ratings: Know the weight of your tool and the capacity of your tether.
- Fit: Ensure your tether works with the tool and doesn't work ‘against’ the it or your use of it. Never modify the tool to accept the tether.
- Weight: Any tool over 5 lbs. should not be attached to you, but instead be attached to a fixed structure approved by supervision and/or the safety department.
- Brand: As with personal fall protection, oftentimes brand models are engineered to work together. Avoid mix and matching tool tether systems from different companies and different models.
- Directions: Know and follow all directions included with your tool tether.
When working in an environment where there is a risk of being hit by a falling object:
- • Secure tools and materials to prevent them from falling
- • Barricade hazardous areas and post warning signage
- • Use toe boards and screens if necessary on walkways and/or scaffolding
- • Use platforms, rated canopies/nets to catch or deflect materials