Falling Object Safety During Outdoor Work

August 3, 2020

Falling objects pose a major safety hazard to workers and are a leading cause of Workers’ Compensation claims. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided extensive guidance on how to mitigate the risks associated with falling objects. 
While stressing the need for general safety such as wearing hard hats, safety goggles and approved footwear, OSHA provides the following guidance for overhead work:

  • Secure tools and materials to prevent them from falling on people below.
  • Barricade hazard areas and post warning signs.
  • Use toe boards, screens, or guardrails on scaffolds to prevent falling objects.
  • Use debris nets, catch platforms, or canopies to catch or deflect falling objects.

A handy reminder tool developed by Amerisure for use at your jobs sites can be found here.

This risk area is so significant that a consortium from the Gas and Oil Industries formed a group of experts to develop an organization named “Drops” (Dropped Objections Prevention Scheme) with the primary focus to deliver dropped object safety solutions that are transferrable to almost all industries.

Drops recently updated a comprehensive “Dropped Object Prevention Scheme Recommended Practices” manual (March 2020) that is available to download and is copyright free. 

The manual defines a series of Best Practices that could become part of a company’s safety management system to identify potential dropped object hazards, prevent their occurrence, and mitigate their outcome. The manual provides an overview of:

  • The components needed for an effective dropped objects safety program.
  • Inspection criteria.
  • Hazard management.
  • Reporting and performance criteria.
  • Other industry standards.

You can access a PDF of the manual here.

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