Fall Protection for Tools & Equipment
When working at height, there is always a possibility of tools, safety equipment such as hard hats, or other objects like phones falling onto workers and others below. Falling objects on a construction or other job site can cause severe sprains, concussions, or even death.
In fact, several hundred U.S. workers die annually from “struck by falling object or equipment” accidents. In addition, tens of thousands of workers and passerby are injured by falling tools and other objects on construction sites each year.
According to The International Safety Equipment Association,“OSHA requires employers to address falling/dropped objects hazards on the job. OSHA mentions this both in General Industry (1910.23; 1910.28) and Construction (1926.451; 1926.501; 1926.759) standards.”
Companies that have employees work at height are obligated to mitigate the risk of falling objects via various control measures such as:
- establishing and barricading an exclusion zone or “Drop Zone”;
- ensuring all workers near the drop zone wear hard hats & other protective gear;
- installing toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems to prevent falling objects from going over the edge of a platform or roof;
- erecting debris nets, catch platforms, or canopy structures that can contain or deflect falling objects;
- using tool tethers or tool lanyards to prevent tools from falling in the first place.
Tool Tethering – A Primary Form of Drop Prevention
Just as workers performing at-height work need reliable, properly fitted fall protection, tools need fall protection as well. Cost-effective and reliable fall protection for tools includes tool tethers, which are lanyards that connect tools to an anchor point.
Tool tethering is the process of attaching tools to either the worker using them or to a sturdy, fixed anchor point. A tool tethering system includes:
- the tether point on the tool;
- a lanyard or other connector;
- and an anchor point.
Modern tool tethering solutions include tool tethers, tool belts & holsters (which can be worn on or off a work belt), and tool connectors, which can be used to create an attachment point on a tool to connect a tether to a tool tether anchor point.
On the body anchorages such as tool belts and holsters may be used for small, lightweight tools and objects.
Safety Standards for Tool Tethering Systems
Although tool tethering is not yet specifically enforced by OSHA, tethering all objects while working at height can help decrease the risk of serious job site accidents. Tool tethering also improves efficiency when working at height by keeping tools secured and close by so they are easily accessible when needed.
Companies who require employees to work at height often have a mandatory tool tethering policy. Tool tethering is also typically included in a comprehensive dropped object prevention plan. A dropped object prevention plan should include both primary (e.g. tool tethers) and secondary (e.g. tool canopies) systems of drop prevention.
Tool tethering systems used on a job site should be compliant with ANSI/ISEA 121-2018, the American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions.
Tethering a Hard Hat & Eye Protection When Working at Height
Hard hats and eye protection should always be secured when working at height. All at-height workers should wear:
Fall Protection for Tools & Equipment When Working at Height
For innovative tool tethering equipment by Gripps – including retractable tool tethers, work belts & holsters, and transport/storage bags – check out our Gripps Tool Tethering Solutions collection. You can also take a look at their tool tethering handbook or print their tool tethering methodology poster.
Tethering solutions are available for hammers, tape measurers, phones/tablets, water bottles, bolts, and more.
How to Select the Best Fall Protection for Tools & Equipment
When it comes to dropped object safety, preventative control can save time, money, and lives.
Even small tools such as a tape measurer, bolt, or screw can cause serious injury or fatality if dropped from a high enough height. DROPS, a global work group focused on dropped object prevention, provides a free Excel based calculator to help safety managers determine the potential consequence of a dropped object.
Effective tool tethering reduces the risk of dropped tools which can cause injuries and fatalities. Tool fall protection also improves productivity by keeping equipment at hand while working at height.
Contact X1 Safety today for assistance with selecting the best tethering solutions and other fall protection equipment for your business.