Safety Tips: Falling-Object Prevention

Falling objects are a high-risk area due to the nature of working at height on many construction sites. The focus on improving this isn’t to implement more procedures, but instead, to capitalize on the lessons learned from previous incidents. To be successful in the reduction of falling-object hazards, all risk areas need to be identified. Has your company considered falling-object hazards in all of the following situations?
  • Inadequate control of equipment and tools being used, stored, or moved at height (e.g., on scaffolding, work platforms, hoisting equipment, or storage racks, or of material being moved on carts).
  • Loose or defective equipment and building structures (e.g., bricks, concrete, cladding, or plant overhead equipment) that are located at height.
  • Effects of weather, such as a buildup of ice or snow, structures made loose by wind, or overhead rock erosion.
  • Given the broad scope of falling-object hazards, you have to base the priorities in your improvement strategy on your own work environment and incident experience.
Tips for success: Consider falling-object prevention in your pre–job plan
  • Controls such as tethers, tool belts, exclusion areas, overhead protection, and containment sheeting can prevent tools from falling and will protect people below.
  • Storage of materials in temporary laydown areas at height must be managed to prevent anything from falling. Ensure that the responsibility for these areas is clear and that there are signs or barriers, and daily inspections.
  • Housekeeping and continual inspections must be part of the job plan, both during the work and after it is finished. Check dark corners, ledges, and the tops of cabinets for leftover materials that could fall later.
Load-movement checklist
  • The load – Know the weight and centre of gravity. Distribute the load evenly, keep it as low as possible, and use tie-down straps. The cart – Know the load rating and whether sides are needed.
  • The route – Walk the route, looking for open guardrails, stairwells, obstructions, and irregularities in the floor.