According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” OSHA recordable incidents every year in the U.S. That’s one injury caused by a dropped object every 10 minutes.
The importance of securing tools and cutting down on work debris were stressed during Safety Week at our job sites this week. Something as light as a 2-pound hammer falling 4 feet can create 250 pounds of force, enough to cause significant injuries.
“The crews were excited about the topic,” said Project Engineer Tyler Persyn, who attended the safety demonstration at our Wichita Falls Independent School District Career and Technical Education Center project.
Dropped tools or flying debris also result in lost productivity as workers stop to retrieve objects or near-misses are investigated. Tools and the structure being worked on can also be damaged.
We already use tool tethers, toe boards along the edges of buildings and fencing or netting attached to guardrails to prevent falling items from striking someone or something below. On larger projects, concrete or similar work with extended edge exposure is usually scheduled at night when other trades are off site.
On the ground, we often use flagging and barricades below elevated work to keep personnel clear of hazards.
The mission of Safety Week is to collectively raise the awareness of the construction industry’s continuing commitment to eliminating worker injury and communicate its dedication to a shared culture of care and concern. This is the third year we have served as a sponsor of the event.