Top Tips to Avoid Falling Object Injuries

Top Tips to Avoid Falling Object Injuries

17th July 2015

Working at height can be a risky business – after all, a fall from height can cause serious injury or, in the worst case scenario, death. While those of us who work at height on a regular basis will have undergone the necessary training and be familiar with the measures we need to take in order to ensure our safety, not all falls from a height involve a person falling from a ladder or a scaffold. There’s another risk out there when working at height and those at risk are those who are working on the ground below the people working at height. This is the risk of being hit and injured by a falling object.

Obviously, anybody working at ground level on a construction site will need to be aware of the hazards involved and the risk they encounter, it’s the responsibility of the person working at height to ensure that all possible measures are taken to prevent falling object injuries on the work-site. Here are some tips that you can use in order to minimise the risks to those working below you:

  • Wherever possible use tool lanyards – these are elastic straps that connect tools to a tool belt or personal fall protection equipment. This is probably the easiest way to prevent falling object injuries on site.
  • Keep all tools and materials at least 3 feet from a leading edge, other than materials and tools specifically required for the task at hand.
  • Do not hang objects on or over guardrails.
  • Secure all objects when working on an elevated surface.
  • Ensure that toe boards are present and inspect them on a regular basis. Toe boards should be at least 4 inches high (this is the minimum height required with a maximum quarter inch clearance from the working surface) and continuous.
  • Remove items from loose or unsealed pockets (especially shirt breast pockets), such as phones, pens, specs and tools.
  • If possible, rope off the area below where fall/drop hazards may exist, this is especially important when working on a ladder.
  • Make sure that hard hats and other relevant personal protection equipment (PPE) are being work by everybody in the area at risk of falling objects with no exceptions Make sure that this requirement is communicated widely.
  • Ensure that hard hats and other PPE are inspected prior to use and that all safety equipment is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.
  • For work over a public area, a double-boarded platform with a polythene sheet in between the boards will prevent small items such as nails and bolts from falling to the ground.
  • If using a cradle, harness or mobile elevated work platform (MEWP), mesh or netting should be used underneath the equipment to prevent objects from falling and causing injury to those below.
  • Covered chutes are a quick and effective method of removing debris from work areas – they are much safer than throwing items over the side of the platform and into a skip below.