Beat the Drop: Improving Site Safety with Tool Tethering
Dropped tools are one of the biggest causes of fatalities in the workplace.
In 2014/15, twenty people were killed after being struck by a moving object at work, making it the third largest cause of death in the workplace. In addition to fatalities, 1,782 workers were injured by moving objects in the latest yearly statistics. Clearly, safe use of tools at height and correct tool tethering equipment is a safety practice that needs to be taken seriously.
Hard hats are essential and save lives, but even heavy duty hats offer little protection against tools dropped from height. As an object falls it's in a state of acceleration: the greater the height the greater the landing impact. A screw driver dropped from height can generate the impact force of a washing machine when dropped from over 10m: that's the kind of force that could kill someone, even if they're wearing a hard hat.
As well as the human cost, companies must also contend with the financial implications of dropped tools: even if workers escape injuries, dropped tools are likely to be damaged themselves or break other equipment on the way down. Retrieving dropped objects and repairing damage can cause costly downtime and even project overruns.
Companies who don't take tool tethering seriously could also find themselves facing financial repercussions and reputation damage arising from litigation due to death or injury of workers. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: 'Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object.' Companies must accept their responsibility to provide workers with the correct equipment and training to prevent deaths and injuries from dropped tools.
Fortunately, dropped tools are a safety hazard that can be avoided by using the correct tool tethering equipment. Make shift ropes and homemade tethers won't do: at Enfield Safety we stock reliable, stringently tested tool tethering products which you can rest assured will do the job.
Are you using tool tethering equipment? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section below.
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