Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a wrench your coworker dropped from the third floor of a building and it’s coming right at you! This object may not be that big or even falling from that high up, but even this object can cause some serious damage if it lands on you.
Falling object accidents are considered a type of struck-by accident. On average, 246 workers are killed each year from being struck by falling objects or equipment. Tools or other material falling from an elevation to a lower level are called falling objects. Falling objects may be tools, equipment, or even a load from a heavy machine. A falling object sometimes hits a surface that deflects its momentum into horizontal motion, making it a flying object.
So how do we protect ourselves while we work? The most obvious answer is wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) like hard hats. Your head is the most part of your body to protect from objects in motion and a hard hat will keep that object from inflicting serious and permanent damage to your brain. You should also wear safety glasses, especially in the case of flying objects ricocheting and coming toward your eyes, and boots to protect your feet.
You can do more than simply wearing safety gear. If you are the worker with the object, do what you can to keep it from falling to those walking below you. If you can anchor them to yourself or another object that has no chance of falling, do so. If this is not a possibility, guard the edge with barriers, put the objects in a bucket, or secure it tightly in a stack. You also have debris nets available, floor covers, and controlled access zones to warn you wear to set your tools and other items. Remember, it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe as well as keep those below you from harm. Good luck and stay safe!
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