Dropped & Falling Objects Safety Talk
Working in construction comes with serious risk. Accidents can often occur when a person is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A significant amount of fatalities in the workplace are caused by objects falling from above and striking a worker. The danger isn't necessarily limited to large items—something as small as a bolt falling from any height has the potential to cause major injury.
That's why it's important to always wear protective gear and stay aware of your surroundings.
How to prevent dropped object incidents
There are some precautions that you can take when working in a construction zone to help reduce the risk of dropped object incidents.
Here are some helpful ways to be more aware and proactive on the construction site:
1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Wearing the proper PPE is one of the most important steps you can take to help prevent injuries on the jobsite. It is very important to always wear safety protection, like hard hats, when you are in a construction zone, especially with people working above you. Certain jobsites or work areas may require more PPE than others. You should always make sure you are following requirements.
PPE is the most basic form of protection against dropped objects. It should never be your only line of defense.
2. Engineering controls
All construction sites must clearly mark areas that are off-limits without authorization. Areas of the jobsite that are considered high risk for falling items should be visibly designated. The right type of barricades or taping should be used to make sure no one enters into that space by mistake.
There are additional safety precautions that can be taken when workers are completing tasks from heights. Toe boards, safety nets, tethers, and anchors in these areas help prevent fallen object injuries. With this type of safety equipment, falling objects will have less of a chance of striking someone or something below. Any equipment that is dropped is also more protected from breaking.
3. Hazard elimination
One method of preventing falling object incidents is to eliminate the hazard altogether. For example, when a worker is completing tasks at a high level and using tools that have the potential of falling, the tools should be removed from the area immediately after the worker is finished using it. Never leave tools that are not needed laying around the work area, especially at a height. Doing so increases the chances of the objects being accidentally pushed or moved and falling.
When workers are finished with the tools and materials that they are using, they should be properly stored and put away. This is a simple way to keep dropped object injuries or fatalities from happening.
If there is a way that you can easily keep people safer, you should take advantage of the opportunity.
Common falling objects
When you think about objects falling and causing a fatality or injury to a person below, you may only consider larger materials or tools as being capable of that kind of damage. But, that is not the case. Many times, injuries and fatalities are caused by a simple hand tool or small object. The severity of injury depends on where and how the person was struck, and the speed at which the object hits someone.
Some common dropped objects that have been known to cause harm include:
Drills and bits
Screw drivers and screws
Hammers and nails
Personal items, including drinks and cups
Injuries from falling objects
There is always a chance of serious injury to anyone who is struck by a falling object. Common dropped object injuries an range from minor to severe:
Be observant and watch for falling objects
While working on a construction site, it is very important that you are observant of what and who is around you—or above you. A lot of accidents can be avoided when responsibility and caution are put first.
If you see a tool or piece of equipment laying out that could possibly fall or be tripped over, pick it up and move it. If you see a hazard in someone's way, do what you can to speak up.
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