Why It's Important to Tether, Top, and Tag Your Work Gear at Heights

Why It's Important to Tether, Top, and Tag Your Work Gear at Heights


It's a grade school truth that a penny dropped from a skyscraper will crack the sidewalk below. But simple physics calculations show that a one pound wrench dropped ten feet from a ladder will hit the ground in less than a second traveling at approximately 17 miles per hour. A five pound drill dropped 30 feet from a scaffold will hit in just over a second, traveling at 30 miles per hour. To have a better understanding of what I'm talking about, I'm going to drop a watermelon from this rooftop. Ouch. Let's see that again.

Workers are constantly in environments where a dropped object can have serious implications. From an iron worker on the 35th story in full fall protection gear, to a framing contractor working on a one-story roof, the three Ts of aerial safety are always important.

The first T is Tethered and stands for tethering tools and equipment with a tool lanyard. Every tool should be secured and products should be designed to incorporate tool lanyard attachment points. Tool lanyards vary in length and design but all function to keep a tool or other piece of equipment secured to a worker or platform to prevent the item from falling.

Let's see what happens when I drop this tool without being secured by a tool lanyard. The force from a dropped tool can cause serious injury to workers and damage tools and surroundings. Now let's see what happens when the tool is tethered. Bottom line: tethered tools keep workers safe.

The second T is Topped and refers to always having a top to prevent loose items from falling out of a pouch, bucket or bag. Here are some examples of items that would require a top while working at heights. Some tops are separate accessory pieces as in the case with the lift buckets. Some tops are designed into the products. These pouches are some examples of how a top can be incorporated into the design of the product. Tops are required to prevent contents from falling if the container is inverted at any point while on the job. Let's see what happens when I drop a bag full of nuts and bolts that is not covered. With a bag full of these, it's impossible to tether each and every one. Therefore a topped bag or bucket is essential to help prevent serious injury or damage.

The third T is Tagged and stands for anything used at heights being tagged with a weight rating. Everything has a limit and while working at heights that limit needs to be identified. Workers need to be made aware of a product's working capacity. If ropes, fall protection and ladders are all rated to a maximum capacity so too should your hoist buckets, tool pouches and tool lanyards.

Any work done off the ground requires certain measures to prevent items from falling, leading to injuries, damaged tools and equipment and loss of productivity. Following our "Tethered, Topped, and Tagged" system will make your jobsite safe, boost productivity, and save money.