Falling Object Hazards Safety

How can you protect against falling object hazards?

Did you know that a 12-inch crescent wrench, weighing only 1½ pounds, has the equivalent weight of 48 pounds when dropped 32 feet …and 72 pounds when dropped 48 feet?

Did you know that by the time someone below realizes they’re being yelled at (from 48 feet above) to get out of the way of a falling wrench …it’s probably too late?

Extra care is always needed when working on platforms and scaffolds, in aerial lifts and at other elevated locations so that those working below are not put at risk.

Here are some things to consider to minimize the risk of falling object hazards.

  • Store loose small materials and tools in containers so they are not unintentionally knocked off platforms or scaffolds.
  • Avoid reaching over guard rails with tools and materials. If it can’t be avoided, use tethers, lifts or scaffolds.
  • Use a canvas bag and hand line to move tools and material to upper levels rather than carrying or tossing them.
  • Use netting around platform railings if toe-boards don’t provide enough protection.
  • Don’t hold too many objects in your hands while walking or working. For example, when working flanges or manways, don’t hold a wrench in your hand while positioning or holding bolts.  Put the wrench down and thread the bold so there are fewer things to control.
  • Secure metal or plywood sheeting (as appropriate per Operations) to gratings and platform penetrations where small objects could fall through.
  • Barricade the areas below and put up tags to alert others of overhead work.

When working overhead ask yourself these questions…

1)   What could possibly fall?

2)   Where could potential falling objects fall through or from?

3)   Where could falling objects go?