Prevent Injuries from Falling Objects

Every year, falling objects injure thousands of workers and this risk affects people in a wide range of industries. This article examines the ways employers and workers can lessen the risks and injuries associated with falling objects.

Warning signs

If there is any potential risk from falling objects, then employers should provide adequate warning for workers and anyone else who enters the worksite or work area. Placing a “Danger – Falling Materials” sign visibly alerts people so they can take precautions or use another route.

Control measures

When you consider the control measures needed to catch or contain falling objects, make sure you identify the various types of objects that could fall – the distance and fall gradient. This way you can make sure your structures or protective equipment can withstand the impact of falling objects.

Some examples of control measures are:

  1. Use secure barriers such as forklift/pedestrian segregation barriers
  2. Create a crowd/pedestrian exclusion or no entry zone barrier
  3. Use catch platforms or screening nets
  4. Use the correct winches and lifting equipment
  5. Build a covered pedestrian walkway

Remember to regularly review control measures so that they remain effective and keep up as changes occur in the workplace.

Work safely

Whatever type of work you are doing, take every precaution to prevent objects falling.

Overhead work:

  1. Keep large equipment at ground level
  2. Tether or secure all materials and tools so they do not fall
  3. Keep tools and materials off railings or sills and away from edges
  4. Keep the work area clean and tidy and put tools and equipment away after using
  5. Use chutes for placing debris into a skip located below the work area
  6. Use guardrails or toe boards on scaffolds to stop objects falling
  7. Use catch platforms or debris nets to prevent falling objects injuring anyone below


Using cranes and hoists:

  1. Inspect to make sure all crane and hoist components are working properly. This includes lifting hooks, chains and wire rope
  2. Do not exceed the lifting capacity


Securing loads:

  1. Use plastic wrap to provide additional stability and prevent objects from falling
  2. Use metal or cloth straps to secure heavier loads
  3. Use restraining bars or netting to keep items stored above ground level in place
  4. Do not exceed the safe load limit of your storage system
  5. Inspect pallets before use to ensure they in safe condition
  6. Keep shelving systems and other fittings well-maintained


Moving loads:

  1. Never lower, lift or swing a load above anyone’s head
  2. When placing loads on high shelves where the load could fall over the other side, place a spotter to warn anyone from the area
  3. Follow safe working load limits and factor in weather and ground conditions
  4. If possible, do heavy stacking and moving work at times when fewer people are around


Wear personal protective equipment

Anyone going into an area with risk of falling object hazards needs to wear appropriate protective equipment such as hardhat and steel-toed shoes. Inspect them before use to ensure they are in good working condition and fit properly.