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.
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.
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.
Remember to regularly review control measures so that they remain effective and keep up as changes occur in the workplace.
Whatever type of work you are doing, take every precaution to prevent objects falling.
Keep large equipment at ground level
Tether or secure all materials and tools so they do not fall
Keep tools and materials off railings or sills and away from edges
Keep the work area clean and tidy and put tools and equipment away after using
Use chutes for placing debris into a skip located below the work area
Use guardrails or toe boards on scaffolds to stop objects falling
Use catch platforms or debris nets to prevent falling objects injuring anyone below
Using cranes and hoists:
Inspect to make sure all crane and hoist components are working properly. This includes lifting hooks, chains and wire rope
Do not exceed the lifting capacity
Use plastic wrap to provide additional stability and prevent objects from falling
Use metal or cloth straps to secure heavier loads
Use restraining bars or netting to keep items stored above ground level in place
Do not exceed the safe load limit of your storage system
Inspect pallets before use to ensure they in safe condition
Keep shelving systems and other fittings well-maintained
Never lower, lift or swing a load above anyone’s head
When placing loads on high shelves where the load could fall over the other side, place a spotter to warn anyone from the area
Follow safe working load limits and factor in weather and ground conditions
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.