The Case for Tethering Tools

By Nate Bohmbach, Associate Product Director, Ergodyne

247  people lost their lives due to a dropped object in 2015, but new standards are currently in the works to help guide efforts focused on preventing these tragic accidents.

Less than a month ago, a worker at a large state utility company dropped an awkward, heavy tool that struck one of his fellow crew members on the ground below. Fortunately, that wise worker was wearing a hard hat, so the glancing blow did not prove fatal. But it was an entirely preventable accident.

As the pace of construction picks up, dropped objects prevention is becoming a faster-growing concern. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that an astounding 247 people lost their lives due to a dropped object in 2015. How many of those tragic accidents could have been prevented had a comprehensive fall prevention program been implemented and followed? But it’s not just construction that counts. Dropped objects are also a hazard in industries like manufacturing, power generation, telecommunications, and more.

Regardless of how quick the task is or how good your hands are, accidents can happen to anyone at any time for any number of reasons – and the consequences can be costly for employers. While it pales in comparison to the human cost, dropped tools and other objects can also damage equipment.

There is little to nothing in the way of industry guidance or regulatory oversight today. Fortunately, that should be changing very soon.

Over the past year, several leading safety equipment manufacturers have been working with the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), a professional association for personal protective equipment and technologies, to develop an equipment standard for the prevention of dropped objects.

To learn more, read our technical bulletin on the forthcoming ANSI 121 Standard.

But there’s no need to wait for new standards to be safe. Simple, affordable solutions are available right now to start addressing the very real dangers of dropped objects across industries.