Falling Objects and Tools - Top Ten Risks
Anybody working in the construction industry here in the UK can’t fail to be aware of the risks involved, especially the risk of falling as this is the major reason for fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace. However, death and serious injury is not just caused by falls from a height, another significant risk is that of tools falling and injuring those working below or passers-by. Dropped object prevention is currently one of the major issues being discussed by health and safety officers around the world. As a trusted fabricator of safety ladders and access equipment that’s used when working at height, we’ve decided to take a look at this issue and point out the most common reasons that tools and other objects fall in the workplace.
1. The Human Factor (People Risk) – this is often caused by inadequate training and low awareness of hazards, complacency, operator errors, neglect and poor reporting. This compromises the safety of others in the area.
2. Poor Risk Assessment – in order to significantly reduce the risk of an incident involving objects or tools being dropped, it’s vital that potential hazards are identified before undertaking any work. A detailed risk assessment will identify potential energy sources, index the tools and equipment required for the job and increase staff awareness of the potential dangers of falling objects.
3. Poor Procedures – If there’s not adequate management of change process in place to identify and control risk from changes in the workplace, new and unidentified risks are often missed.
4. Failed Fixtures – The incorrect installation of fixtures and fittings can lead to failures, as can corrosion, vibration, poor design and incorrect selection. Failed fixtures and fittings often work loose or fall so regular inspection to monitor deterioration is vital so that appropriate action can be taken.
5. Inadequate Inspection, Maintenance and Repair – Regular inspections and maintenance schedules enable us to identify corrosion, wear and tear and other damage to equipment and structural elements before they present a risk.
6. Poor Housekeeping – Workplaces need to be kept tidy and well organised as do tool kits. Loose tools and equipment can pose an unexpected risk to other workers.
7. Snags and Collisions – Moving and lifting equipment can cause snags and collisions which result in breakages or dropped objects and materials. Make sure all tools and materials are secured before lifting or moving anything.
8. Neglected, Home-made or Redundant Tools – Homemade tools and tool tethers can break unexpectedly as can tools that are damaged. All tools, equipment and tethering gear should be of a professional quality, bear the CE Mark and should undergo inspection before use.
Environment – Environmental factors must always be considered. Wind, rain, ice, snow, mud, heat, sand and sea motion all change working conditions. Environmental effects are more pronounced when working at height and may compromise the stability and safety of tools, equipment and structural features.