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DROPPED AND FALLING OBJECTS

255 FATALITIES. 48,000 INJURIES. NO TIME LEFT TO DELAY.

DROPPED OBJECTS OVERVIEW

WHAT IS SAFETY AT HEIGHTS?

Fall protection for the worker has come a long way - but it's only part of the picture. There's another component of Safety at Heights that is only recently getting the attention it deserves: Objects at Heights.

WORKERS AT HEIGHTS DROPPED OBJECTS HOUSE KEEPING EQUIP. TRANSPORT OBJECTS AT HEIGHTS SAFETY AT HEIGHTS
Workers at Heights focuses on safety solutions for the workers, including fall protection, PPE and worker accessibility.
Dropped Objects addresses the tools, gear and instrumentation workers bring to heights and any object on a worksite that may fall from its previous position -- from a tiny bolt to the boom of a crane.
Housekeeping addresses the need to keep an organized, clean workzone at heights.
Equipment transport addresses the hazards involved with improperly transporting equipment to and from the at-heights workzone (ex: overloading a climber, overflowing containers)
Objects at Heights focuses on the tools and equipment workers bring to heights, and is broken into three sub-categories: Dropped Objects, Housekeeping and Equipment Transport.
Safety at Heights includes fall protection for workers (Workers at Heights) AND the tools, gear and equipment they bring to heights (Objects at Heights).

RISK AWARENESS

LUCK IS BAD POLICY. DROPS WILL HAPPEN.

The most serious nuclear threat in the history of the U.S. came not from the Soviets, but from a single nine-pound wrench socket.

Dropped by an airman performing maintenance on a Titan II missile at a launch complex in Damascus, Arkansas, the socket fell 70 feet, ripping a hole in a fuel tank and leading to an explosion that forced a 9-megaton warhead out of the ground.

Thankfully, safety features prevented any loss of radioactive spillage or detonation, but the explosion killed one and injured about twenty more.

The 1980 Damascus Titan missile explosion is a drastic example of what can result from operating like everything is going to work perfectly every time. In this case, it almost wiped an entire state off the map.

SEE HOW A WRENCH SOCKET ALMOST WIPED ARKANSAS OFF THE MAP

THE RISING COST OF FALLING OBJECTS

Severe injury and fatality from dropped objects – even something as small as a wrench socket – are all too common, resulting in thousands of injuries, hundreds of deaths, hundreds of millions in total costs and who knows how many close calls every year.

47,920 Injuries
Falling objects or equipment resulted in 5.4% of all workplace injuries.
*BLS, 2016
255 Fatalities
Representing 46% of all “struck by” incidents and 5% of all workplace fatalities.
*BLS, 2016
$370,000,000
255 fatalities x $1.45M, the average cost per fatal accident.
*NSC, 2016

THE STANDARD

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018: A HIGHER STANDARD IN AT-HEIGHTS SAFETY

Recognizing the pressing need for formal guidelines within the category of Objects at Heights, leading safety equipment manufacturers like Ergodyne joined forces with the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) to develop a standard for tethering and transporting tools and equipment. ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is the first standard for this type of equipment.

Q+A ON THE NEW STANDARD WITH NATE BOHMBACH, ERGODYNE PRODUCT DIRECTOR

WHAT 121 COVERS

Similar to ANSI Z359 for fall protection, ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is recognized as industry best practice. Although not directly enforceable by OSHA, the standard can be referred to under the General Duty Clause to interpret a better way to protect workers against falling objects. The current standard focuses on four classes of preventative solutions actively used by workers to mitigate dropped objects.

The new dropped objects measure does not address things like passive preventative solutions (netting, toe boards, etc.) or best practices in the field, like telling workers where they should connect a tool lanyard on their harnesses. See Areas of Focus section for more details.

THE FOUR AREAS OF FOCUS

tool anchor icon
Anchor Attachments

Retrofit attachment points installed onto fixed anchor locations like structure or a worker themselves to anchor tool tethers.

tool attachement icon
Tool Attachments

Retrofit attachment points installed onto tools and equipment, allowing them to be tethered.

lanyard icon
Tool Tethers

Lanyards that connect tools to an anchor point.

tool bucket icon
Containers

Bags and buckets that are used to transport tools and equipment to and from at-heights work zones.

A COMPLETE TETHERING SYSTEM 101

GET THE BASICS OF OBJECTS AT HEIGHTS SAFETY

Much like the category of Workers at Heights has the ABC’s of fall protection, we’ve innovated the 3T’s of dropped objects prevention in the category of Objects at Heights: Trapped, Tethered, and Topped.

Click the indicators below to see the 3T’s of dropped objects prevention in action along with the product solutions to support them.

TRAPPED

CREATING CONNECTION POINTS ON TOOLS

Trapping refers to retrofitting a connection point onto a tool or primary anchor for a safer attachment point. Most tools do not come with a secure attachment point built into the tool. In these situations, a secure attachment point must be created.

TETHERED

RETENTION BETWEEN TOOLS/GEAR AND ANCHOR POINTS

Tethering is the retention of the tools and equipment being used to the anchor points that hold them. This is often achieved through the use of a tool lanyard. These lanyards should have the proper connections on each end for the tools and anchors being used. They should also be made with a shock absorbing design whenever possible.

TOPPED

SECURE CLOSURE ON CONTAINERS FOR TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

Tool pouches, bags and hoist buckets/bags should have a secure closure or "top" that can cover contents and prevent them from spilling if tipped. All containers may have tethering points available to attach tool lanyards, but if a container does not have a secure closure it must have these tethering points available.

ADDITIONAL TRAINING RESOURCES

DROP KNOWLEDGE, NOT TOOLS

The Squids® Can / Bottle Holder & Trap makes it easy to carry, secure and tether your water bottle, spray bottle, aerosol can or other canisters of similar sizes to prevent dropped objects while working at-heights.
As the global leader in Objects at heights safety, Ergodyne delivers the future of tool tethering and dropped object prevention. To us, tool lanyards are much more than an accessory.
The Squids® Elastic Hard Hat Lanyard makes tethering a hard hat to a workers shirt or fall protection harness quick and easy.
Welcome to Ergodyne’s overview of Objects at Heights Safety. Today we will discuss solutions to actively prevent dropped objects on the jobsite using the 3 T’s: Tethering, Topping and Trapping.
The Squids® 3797 Power Tool Bracket for Grinders creates a unique tool attachment point to tether corded and cordless grinder power tools with a tool lanyard.
The Squids® 3798 Power Tool Bracket for Pneumatic Tools creates a unique tool attachment point to tether air/pneumatic power tools with a tool lanyard.
The Squids® 3796 Power Tool Bracket for Drill & Impact Drivers creates a unique tool attachment point to tether cordless drills, impact drivers and other power tools with a tool lanyard.
The Squids® Water Resistant Phone Pouch and Trap & Tablet Pouch and Trap make it easy to carry and use your cell phone and iPad on the job while preventing dropped objects when working at-heights.
Squids® Slips are perfect retrofit tool attachments for small hand tools to help reduce the risk of dropped objects and increase workplace safety. Connection points for tool lanyards can be tricky to find, especially on smaller hand tools like screw drivers and hex keys (Allen wrenches).
Squids® Tool Lanyards are scientifically-engineered to reduce the amount of force exerted on the body if a drop occurs. Watch the drops test video to how the force-reducing design of Squids® Tool Lanyards help protect yourself and those working below you.
For complete fall protection, tool lanyards are essential to preventing dropped objects. See how to apply adhesive tool tape so any tool can be safely tethered with a lanyard.
The Power Tool Holster holds power drills and impact drivers. An innovative modular buckle connection system easily connects to standard tool belts and fall protection harnesses.
The Hammer Holster secures most styles and sizes of hammers. An innovative modular buckle connection system easily connects to standard tool belts and fall protection harnesses.
The Small Tool and Radio Holster secures Channellocks®, pliers, radios, cell phones and other small hand tools, while easily connecting to standard tool belts and fall protection harnesses.
These durable and easy to use topped tool pouches house tools, small parts and hardware. They feature a one-handed snap-hinge opening and a zipper closure system for safety and security.
Arsenal® Hoist Buckets can safely hoist up to 150 pounds of tools and work gear. A removable safety top is available for locking in your load to prevent falling objects when hoisting the gear needed to do the job.
Perfected through hundreds of drop tests and user feedback, our innovative next gen Squids® Tool Lanyards boast shock-absorbing webbing, tool gripping loops, and lightweight carabiners to reduce drop forces for safe at heights tethering.

FAQ

MAMA SAID THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A DUMB ONE. REACH OUT TO TRAINING@ERGODYNE.COM WITH QUESTIONS OF YOUR OWN.

Any object, large or small, that falls from its previous position, excluding people. Ex: Tools, PPE, equipment and structures.

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STATIC

Any object that falls from a stationary position under its own weight. Like a handle snapping off a hoisted contractor’s bucket.

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DYNAMIC

Any object that falls as a result of a secondary force, like a worker dropping a tool or accidentally kicking an item off a ledge.

Whenever tools and equipment are brought to even modest heights, there’s a risk for dropped and falling objects.

AERIAL APPLICATIONS

INDUSTRY
EMPLOYS
  • Utilities
    554.1K
  • Telecommunications
    766.2K
  • Construction
    7,164K
  • Wind energy
    381K
  • Oil and gas
    671.6K
  • Mining
    186.9K
  • Electricians/service techs
    942.4K
  • Transportation
    5,289K

NON-AERIAL APPLICATIONS

INDUSTRY
EMPLOYS
  • Nuclear
    45.8K
  • Manufacturing
    12,630K
  • Food Processing
    1,631.1K
  • Transportation (aviation)
    438.5K
  • Underwater MRO
    202.7K
  • Oil & gas
    671.6K
  • Mining
    186.9K
  • Construction
    7,164K

Two categories: Those caused by elements and those that are worker/equipment-generated.

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ELEMENTS
  • Weather
  • Vibration
  • Corrosion
  • Deterioration
  • Body effects like cold, numb hands
falling worker icon
WORKER/EQUIPMENT
  • Tripping or colliding
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Not following procedures
  • Miscalculations/poor design
  • Missed/inadequate inspections
  • Homemade tools and equipment

The key word is prevention in the form of active engineering controls that prevent items from falling in the first place. If there is no drop, there is no chance of being struck by a falling object. Other prevention mitigation solutions are expensive and tedious to install and remove, so tethering and container equipment is the best practice for these risks. You can see the challenges with other solutions:

  • PPE: Hard hats, steel toe boots and other PPE help specific locations on the body to minimize injury, but do not prevent a “struck-by”. If an object strikes someone on the shoulder rather than the head, it won’t help. If the object is very heavy or tapered/sharp it can defeat a hard hat. More needs to be done.

  • Admin Controls: Creating barriers by the use of caution tape or other means pushes workers and bystanders away from the location directly under work at-height. However, it’s no secret that a small deflection can propel an object outside an established perimeter causing injury or damage anyway. Again, preventing the drop from above it key.

  • Passive Engineering Controls: Netting and toe boards are expensive to install and remove, and can give a false sense of security. Items can still fall beyond these systems. In addition, toe boards promote poor housekeeping by encouraging individuals to leave tools and equipment on the platform. Actively tying off equipment is your best bet.

GET YOUR DROPPED OBJECTS PLAN OFF THE GROUND

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