It isn’t just people that are at risk of falling at height. Equipment or materials can also fall or be dropped, and when they do, they can have serious consequences for those below. In 2017, there were 16 work-related fatalities directly caused by a falling object. Safe Work Australia published that 3,445 serious work injury claims were submitted after being hit by a falling object in the 2013/14 financial year.
Like people, anything of mass creates kinetic energy as it falls through space. This energy is released as impact force once it hits another mass, whether it be the ground or a workers hard hat. This energy increases with the weight of the object and how far it travels. A 500g hammer that falls 30m will create an impact force of 18kg, enough to seriously harm whatever, or whoever, it hits.
Stop the drop and protect those below by:
Utilising tool lanyards
Implementing safe methods of raising and lowering equipment and materials
Installing physical barriers to prevent equipment or materials from falling freely, such as safety nets
Setting up exclusion zones below overhead work
If work must be conducted below, ensure all workers are fitted with a hard hat as a first line of defence
Installing overhead protection for those on ground level, such as protected walkways