Avoiding Injuries from Falling Objects

Avoiding Injuries from Falling Objects

Almost every construction worker at some time or the other is placed at risk of being hit by a falling object on a site. Occasionally even people just passing by a construction site may be hit by falling objects in areas adjacent to the site, if principal contractors do not properly manage this hazard.

Objects such as equipment, tools, debris and building materials are common sources of injury. Not only must the site’s principal contractor manage these hazards, they also need to ensure that every worker on site is provided with the necessary protection in order to minimise the risk of injury and the severity of the impact if an incident does occur. This can be done in the form of providing PPE to workers, which is a mandatory requirement or something as simple as providing places for workers to put away tools when not in use.

When managing risks, it must first be determined if the risk can be eliminated. If this cannot be done the risks must be minimised as much as possible.

Where hazards cannot be eliminated, they must be controlled and this includes the use of ‘isolation’ or ‘no go’ zones where there is a risk of an object falling into an area.

A common source of injury and death by falling objects is when loads that are being lifted are not properly secured and they slip or break loose, plummeting to the ground, normally at a speed, injuring, crushing or killing a worker/workers beneath.

To prevent objects from falling freely from one level to another when they are being stored a secure physical barrier should be provided. The hazard of falling objects can be managed and controlled so that workers are not debilitated or even killed by an injury by taking care at each stage of construction that hazards are being managed.

Here are a few more ways that workers can be protected against falling objects

1. When moving a load it is important to never lift, lower or swing a load over anyone’s head. Restrict heavy moving operations to hours when fewer people are present.

2. Pay attention to housekeeping. Tools and debris are one of the main causes of falling objects. To mitigate this hazard employees need to ensure the work areas is clean and tidy.

3. Adopt administrative controls to preventfalling objects on the construction site. Examples of these types of controls include the installation of boards on the sides of elevated work areas or scaffolds to prevent objects from falling over the edge. Other strategies can be developed after looking at the sites unique hazards and consulting with workers.

4. Remember that PPE are the last line of defence however they should not be ignored because they can save a workers life. Some of the PPE that protect workers in the event of falling objects include hard hats and steeled tip boots. Workers should be provided these PPE free of charge and trained on its correct use. Thereafter it is their responsibility to wear these PPE as instructed.

Check out more safety related articles for construction workers


Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes