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Workplace Health and Safety

Accidents Happen, So This Industry Is Changing its Standards

Photo: Courtesy of Yancy Min

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.

Finding the right solution

In response to this widespread problem, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and leading safety equipment manufacturers have joined together to standardize the solutions available to protect workers from dangerous falling objects. These objects include hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that have to be transferred and used at heights. The consequences of these accidents range from inconvenience and loss of productivity to life-altering injury or death. This is especially important in industries where elevated work areas are common such as oil and gas, construction, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, shipping operations and aviation.

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 object 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.

A changing standard

“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, Chair of ISEA’s Dropped Object Prevention Group. According to Bohmbach, the drafted standard is complete and has been submitted to the ISEA board of directors. If approved, it will move to the review process with the expectation that the industry will see this standard near the end of 2018’s first quarter.

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