We got some interesting stats from our friends at Ergodyne (by way of the Bureau of Labor Statistics) that says in 2015 there were 247 deaths from falling objects on the job. Which makes up 48% of all struck fatalities and 5% of all workplace fatalities. There have been a lot of advancements in PPE, which is very important however a pipe wrench falling from even a few stories can have thousands of pounds of force and kill a person regardless of if they are wearing a hard hat.
Tethering tools and safety transporting all supplies to heights can dramatically reduce those death numbers as well as prevent thousands of injuries each year. The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) will be releasing a Dropped Object Standard, hopefully later this year, which should provide the guidelines for Attaching Tools, Tool Lanyards and Containers to transport tools and accessories.
Not all Tool Lanyards are Created Equally!
While preventing death and injury below it is critical to not increase risk of injury to the tool user as well. If it is a heavy tool like a mag drill you want to use a safety chain to attach to a work surface, never a worker. For an 8 lb pipe wrench dropping just 3’ (example in the video above) we are seeing between 150-190 lbs of force from some lanyard which could easily cause someone to lose their balance. The Ergodyne Squids lanyards in the same test was at only 46.1 lbs, over a 1/3rd less pull force, still a concern but much safer for both worker and those below.
Retrofit Tools for use at Heights
Unfortunately most hand tools and small power tools do not yet have pass-throughs for tethering yet. We are seeing this issue become more of a concern and manufacturer’s taking steps to build this into new tool designs. For those tools that need retrofitting Ergodyne sells complete Tool Tethering Kits for hand tools, take measures and even power tools. Check out the full 50 page Tool Tethering Guide PDF for more info on which lanyard to use with what tool, how to trap various items and several ideas on tool storage might work best for your needs.
We certainly have drank the Kool-Aid, that tool tethering is the right thing to do on the jobsite and that Ergodyne offers the most complete system for how to connect whatever tools you got. Nobody wants to think about a tape measure killing a delivery driver