A falling object picks up speed at the rate of 32 feet per second, making it impossible to shout a warning in time to workers below. In addition, the impact of the dropped object is equal to its weight times the falling distance. For example, a 3’ valve wrench weighing 15 pounds has a force equal to 480 pounds when dropped a distance of just 32 feet. That multiplies to 4,500 pounds if dropped 300 feet. People in the path of the falling object are exposed to serious injury and possibly death.
When working from elevated locations, tools should always be tied off. Use toeboards to block tools or other smaller objects from falling. When moving tools, materials, and equipment from one elevation to another, use a material basket or hand line. Never carry objects in your hands while climbing a ladder. Not only does this create a hazard for dropping the object but it reduces the three points of contact required for safe ladder climbing practices.
When working at height, barricade the work zone below to prevent access by unauthorized workers. Likewise, workers on the ground should be aware of overhead lifts and ongoing work taking place above; always wear hard hats.
Submit your near misses and accidents to share with other members in order to increase awareness and make everyone safer. Company and personal names will not be used. Email Ed Valencia at firstname.lastname@example.org.