There were 503 fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 from objects; 237 of those were caused by falling objects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that same time-frame, nearly 46,000 people were struck by falling objects or equipment, said Ergodyne Product Director Bob Bohmbach.
During a NATE webinar Wednesday about safety at heights, Bohmbach explained the hierarchy of engineering controls aimed to prevent object falls.
Toeboards, “encourage a false sense of security,” according to Bohmbach. “It won’t take too much for a tool to bounce off a toeboard and hit someone.”
Bohmbach, who’s also the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) Dropped Objects Prevention Solutions Chairman, said the most common fall control is duct tape and rope. “This is not a solution,” and is “archaic,” he added.
Bohmbach discussed the ANSI/ISEA 121 adopted by ANSI in 2018. It includes four categories: anchor attachments on a worker’s tool belt, tool attachments, tool tether and containers, like hoist buckets and pouches.
MSA Safety Global Fall Protection Product Group Manager Rob Willis discussed leading edge definitions. OSHA defines it as the unprotected side and edge of a floor, roof or formwork and walking/working surface. ANSI defines it as a self-retracting lanyard with leading edge capability.
“The leading edge is a work practice where a connecting device (like an SRL) is anchored below the harness back D-ring and a potential fall hazard over an edge exists,” said Willis, who’s also the ISEA Dropped Objects Prevention Solutions Chairman. The sharp edge, a subset of leading edge, has the potential to cut most types of lifelines. “In sharp edge applications the primary risk is the lifeline can be frayed or severed,” he emphasized.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
May 9, 2019
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