There are more than 40,000 struck by falling object recordable incidents each year (BLS). Falling object fatalities contribute to 9.4% of the deaths in the construction industry. If you don’t think you need to worry about falling objects on your worksite, listen to this last statistic. Each day in the United States, 143 employees are struck by a falling object.
In addition to causing injuries and fatalities, these incidents are incredibly expensive. Companies can expect that lawsuits will cost up to $3 million dollars (OSHA). In addition, direct and indirect costs quickly add up to more than $100,000 per incident.
Clearly, this is no laughing matter, so what can you do to be more responsible around these hazards? First, you need to remember that falling objects are more than small tools or building materials; falling loads fit under this category as well.
You probably see forklifts, excavators, cranes, and other heavy machinery on your worksite each day. You may even have to work near them or operate them. One crucial way to avoid these incidents is to operate safely around heavy machinery handling loads.
You also need to learn how to operate safely on and below ladders, scaffolding, and other work at heights. Situational awareness and proper PPE will protect you from many falling object accidents.
In recent years, companies have developed fall protection technology for your tools and materials. Let’s face it; we are all clumsy at times. It’s impossible to prevent employees from dropping things by accident, but there is a way to catch tools and materials before they can actually reach the ground.
Tool tether systems connect tools and materials to employees or fixed structures. That way, if you drop something from high up, employees working below are safe and you don’t have to pause your work to go retrieve the tool from the ground.
There are many more controls for falling object hazards that we cover in our new falling object hazards training. We also go over the most common causes of falling object accidents by reviewing investigated incident profiles.
Come check it out on our website.
Good luck and stay safe!