We’re all familiar with the saying, “the bigger it is, the harder it falls,” but I’d wager that it’s just as relevant if you changed it to, “the heavier it is, the harder it falls.”

Falling objects at work are more than items that are stacked high on the shelf. For people who work in warehouses, at heights or on construction sites, they could be heavy objects like crates or boxes stored at height, to power tools or materials like timber, concrete or masonry. Heavy objects can fall because they are knocked loose by something else that is moving, someone not watching what they were doing, because they weren’t balanced properly or even due to bad weather. It’s easy to underestimate the power of something as simple as the wind at height – strong winds have enough force to blow tools and building materials off the roof of a worksite or a scaffold.

The numbers alone can seem shocking. Over the last four years in Australia, 15,500 workers have been injured by falling objects in workplaces.  

17 have been killed.  

Over 200 have been left permanently disabled by injuries that were caused by falling objects.

The good news is that the risks posed by falling objects can be managed. Correctly securing items at height can be as simple as using a lanyard that attaches a tool to a worker’s belt or putting rubbish in a bin. The saying, “what comes up must come down” isn’t just an observation of gravity – it’s a method of keeping people safe at work. If workers take a tool, or equipment, or building materials to a worksite at height, all that has to be done when the job is finished is to bring that gear down.  

Identifying risk zones and exclusion zones is another great way to minimise the risk of falling objects. Exclusion zones are just that – zones around a worksite that certain people aren’t allowed in to. Depending on where people are in relation to the work being carried out, these zones are labelled red, yellow and green. If you can identify exclusion zones, you can identify areas where people are at high, medium, or low risk of coming into contact with falling objects, and plan accordingly to keep people safe.  

Kineo Courses’ Managing the Risk of Falling Objects course is a 40 minute course designed to provide learners with an understanding of:

  • the risks and consequences of falling objects
  • how to identify the risks of falling objects
  • how to control the risks of falling objects, and
  • how to manage exclusion zones.

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