Working on a construction site poses many hazards. Dropped tools–or other objects–can cause serious injuries and even fatalities for those down below. We’re well into our National Safety Month tribute and this week we’re focusing on staying protected from falling objects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” events recorded every year in the United States. Learn how to minimize the risk of injury or death from falling objects on the job.
How can you prevent injuries and fatalities from falling objects?
Both employers and employees play important roles in preventing injuries from falling objects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several guidelines for environments where there are risks of falling objects:
- Secure tools and materials to prevent them from falling on people below
- Barricade hazard areas and post warning signs
- Use toe boards, screens on guardrails or scaffolds
- Use debris nets, catch platforms or canopies to catch or deflect falling objects
Hard Hats 101
OSHA tells us that workers must wear a protective helmet when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects. The hard hat you choose needs to comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z89.1-2009, “American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection” standard. Each helmet needs to have a shell and suspension system (such as a headband). The suspension’s job is to absorb the shock of a blow to the top of the hard hat; it needs to be adjustable to prevent the helmet from falling off the head.
Proper care of your hard hat will help you ensure it’s doing its job to keep you safe. Giving your hat’s shell and suspension routine inspections will help you maintain its efficiency. When inspecting the shell, Occupational Health & Safety Magazine recommends to look for cracks, nicks, dents, gouges, and any damage caused by impact, penetration, abrasions, or rough treatment. If your hat is made of thermoplastic materials, look for stiffness, brittleness, fading, dullness of color, or a chalky appearance. If you see any of these signs of wear, it’s time to remove the shell and replace it immediately.
When inspecting the suspension, look closely for cracks or tears, frayed or cut straps, loss of pliability, or other signs of wear. All keys of your suspension keys should fit tightly and securely into their slots. If it shows signs of damage, remove the suspension immediately and replace. If you’re in doubt about the quality of your hat, contact the manufacturer.
At Working Person’s Store we offer a wide variety of hard hats to keep workers safe. If you’re looking for special features, like cooling pads, we can help. We also carry many different designs—from classic to cowboy—so you can find the one that’s right for you.
Staying safe from falling objects takes active participation from employers and employees. Do your part to minimize this hazard at your workplace by following safety guidelines and always wearing protective head wear.