• Home
  • Media
  • Blog
  • How to Prevent Falling Objects in the Workplace

How to Prevent Falling Objects in the Workplace

Contributor: CableSafe®

One of the most dangerous scenarios at work is when someone drops something while working at a height or an object is knocked off an edge unexpectedly, which can result in terrible injuries or fatalities to employees. Employers must have a safe work procedure in place for employees working at heights, as well as give proper training to all employees involved. Inspection of equipment and working platforms is required on a regular basis to ensure the safety of individuals working at height as well as those present below the working areas.


How to avoid falling objects when working at heights?

  • Avoiding falling objects while working at heights is a critical step that necessitates specialized employee training to assist employees in adhering to safety regulations.
  • For lifting, secure all materials in closed buckets or bags and tie them to an anchoring point at the top.
  • Before climbing any structure, always secure all tools and light weight devices with a tool belt or harness using clips, lanyards, or tethering aids.
  • Install a safety net below the workers at height or barricade the area for preventing falling object injuries at site.

How can you prevent falling objects at work?

  • Secure all tools by using tool lanyards/belts to prevent them from falling.
  • Preventing falling object injuries on the jobsite can be accomplished by keeping excess material, other than material explicitly necessary for work in progress, at least 3 feet away from a leading edge.
  • Objects should not be hung from guardrails.
  • Secure all materials before working on elevated surfaces to help avoiding falling objects accidentally.
  • Toe boards must be in place and should be inspected on a regular basis.

How can you prevent materials/objects at heights from falling?

  • Use a double-boarded platform with a polythene sheet in between the boards when working in public areas to keep small items like nails and bolts from falling.
  • Close-boarded platforms should be used so that materials or things do not fall and injure anyone or anything below.
  • To prevent items from falling, scaffolding and tower scaffolds should be equipped with brick guards, netting, or other adequate protection.
  • Use mesh or netting underneath the equipment when working on a mobile elevated platform to keep things from falling.

How to prevent falling objects in the workplace?

  • Install a safety net at workplace to protect employees from falling objects; however, they are not designed to catch heavy objects and should not be used in place of a harness system.
  • Identify high-risk sites and clearly mark them to remind personnel to wear PPE in the area to avoid being injured by falling objects.
  • Install a harness system for the tools to improve the safety from falling objects at workplace. These harnesses can have extendable cords connected to them to make it easier to move about while utilizing tools.
  • Only bring required tools at work site to do the task.
  • Always keep edges clear and place extra tools or equipment in designated areas only.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.