Dropped objects are still a very worrying concern for all industries, on Construction sites alone there are an estimated 50,000 people struck by a falling objects every year! (HSE Riddor Report) Dropped objects still rank in the top 3 of the United Kingdoms workplace killers! Falling objects also account for over 7,000 reported non-fatal injuries, with 75% of them resulting in over 7 days of lost work time.
We will attend site and carry out a dropped object survey, making sure there is nothing at height that has a risk of falling. This will be done using Rope Access, MEWPS and/or Drones.
What is a dropped object?
There are two kinds of dropped objects:
Static Dropped Object
Any object that falls from it’s previous position under it’s own weight (Gravity) without any applied force. For example, failure caused by corrosion or vibration.
Dynamic Dropped Object
Any object that falls from it’s previous position due to an applied force. For example, collisions involving moving equipment or loads, snagging on machinery or stacked items, dislodged tools or equipment.
A dropped object accident:
• Will leave you with irreparable damage – and what you can repair is going to cost significant amounts of money.
• Is one way to get media coverage, but not the sort your PR team strives for!
What Causes Dropped Objects?
A host of factors can contribute to a dropped object incident. Statistics show that around 30% of all dropped object incidents are related to design, technical or mechanical issues but almost half can be attributed to human factors. Almost half of all dropped object incidents can be attributed to human factors. An understanding of the primary causes of the incidents can help conduct more thorough risk assessments by considering these during work site hazard identification.
Here are the Top 10:
Inadequate Risk Assessment
Failure to identify dropped object hazards. A risk assessment can identify potential energy sources, index tools and equipment required for each task and increase worker awareness about the potential dangers of falling objects.
Operator error, poor behaviour, complacency, neglect. Inadequate training or awareness of hazards, operator error, complacency, neglect and poor reporting can result in compromised safety.
Inadequately Stored or Secured Tools
No tool lanyards or tethers being used. No containment of loose items. Hand tools, power tools, mobile phones, even Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are all examples of equipment and tools that should be securely tethered with tool lanyards.
Bad planning, no management of change. As with risk assessments, if the management of change process isn’t in place to identify and control risk from the changes occurring in the workplace, unidentified and new risks may be missed.
Failed Fixtures and Fittings
Corrosion, vibration, poor design, selection or improper installation. Failed fixtures and fittings can and will often dislodge and fall. Regular inspection helps monitor any deterioration so that appropriate measures can be taken.
Pre-existing hazards from previous tasks. Workplaces and tool kits should be kept organised and tidy. Loose tools and equipment left around pose an unexpected risk to other workers.
Collisions and Snagging
Lifting, travelling equipment, tag lines, service loops. Moving equipment, lifting and tag lines can all cause snagging or collision. The impact of collisions can cause breakage or create other dropped objects and debris.
Inadequate Inspection and Maintenance
Ignoring unsafe conditions. Regular inspections and maintenance repair schedules can help identify corrosion, damages, wear and tear to equipment and structural elements before they become a falling object risk.
Redundant, Neglected and Home-made Tools and Equipment
These should be eliminated. Home-made tools, improvised tool tethers, equipment that is not certified, or even damaged tools that have been subjected to a previous fall can fail or break unexpectedly. Tools and tool tethering equipment should always be inspected before use.
Wind, sea motion, ice, snow, extreme conditions. The effects of these elements are more pronounced in exposed areas, such as working at height on oil rigs, can compromise the stability of equipment, tools and structural features.
• Human factors are responsible for nearly half of all dropped objects.
• Stopping drops requires a proactive and informed approach.
• Drop prevention training raises team awareness and encourages a collaborative approach.
Physics of falling objects
People often don’t realise the impact forces that are generated when an object is dropped. Even with some form of protection, the result of being struck by an item of relatively low weight can be significant.
Here’s an example:
A 2kg hammer
Will have an impact force of over 1 Tonne!