Experts from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) shared some ideas Tuesday on PPE solutions to protect workers from objects at heights and discussed regulations and standards.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there were 519 fatalities from being struck by an object or equipment in the United States, and 247 were caused by a falling object. Regulators and professionals have acknowledged the serious, life-threatening risks of falling objects and are instilling rules to ensure proper precautions are followed in the workplace.
In response, ISEA and leading safety equipment manufacturers including, Ergodyne, 3M Safety, Guardian Fall Protection, Hammerhead Industries, Radians, Ty-Flot, and West Coast Corporation, have joined together to standardize the solutions available to protect workers from objects falling from heights. These objects include hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that have to be transferred and used at heights; and the implications from struck-by injuries can range from inconvenience or loss of productivity to life-altering injury or death. This is especially important in oil and gas, construction, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, shipping operations and aviation industries, where elevated work areas are common.
The objective is to provide employers with a document, ANSI/ISEA 121 Dropped Object Prevention Standard, that establishes minimum design, performance, and labeling requirements for solutions that reduce dropped objects incidents in industrial and occupational settings. An industry first, the proposed standard will focus on preventative solutions actively used by workers to mitigate these hazards, and testing of these solutions.
“This standard will provide employers with important guidance on how to minimize the risk of dropped object incidents. That’s an important part of any safety program,” said Nate Bohmbach, Associate Product Director, Ergodyne and Chair of ISEA’s Dropped Object Prevention Group. Speaker Virginia Battles, Global Vice President of Ty-Flot, gave an overview of dropped objects on Monday. She said some types of solutions in the standard include anchor points such as an immovable object, attachment points that secure tool and provides an attachment for tool tethers, tool tethers that connect to your tools attachment point and anti-drop storage for items that cannot be tethered or not in use.