The risk of accidents and injuries caused by dropped objects is particularly prevalent in manufacturing, construction and other industries that involve working with large machinery, from heights or on multiple levels.
While significant amounts of attention is applied to minimising the risk of falling from heights and machinery-related trapping and crushing injuries, many businesses fail to account for the danger posed by dropped objects.
The lack of preparation against these incidents is troubling due to the common occurrence of workplace injuries caused by falling objects. Injuries caused by falling rocks, projectiles and other sharp objects account for almost half (46 per cent) of all work-related hospitalisations, according to Safe Work Australia.
Even when your employees are protected by hard hats and designated walkways, you may still find yourself making a claim on your business insurance policy due to the damage potentially caused to equipment and machinery underneath the dropped object’s path.
It is therefore important to ensure you have adequate measures in place for minimising risk of accidents related to falling rocks and other projectiles.
Industry standards dictate that kick boards and handrails must be fixed on raised platforms and walkways, to reduce the chances of a dropped object falling off the side of the scaffolding. However, these measures do not cover all potential gaps an object can disappear through.
If you have a permanent structure above a location where equipment and machinery is kept or employees will frequently traverse, you may wish to consider installing a safety net to disrupt an object’s journey towards the ground.
Additionally, creating a more enclosed platform with walls and permanent flooring will also remove the risk of a dropped object falling between platform boards or handrails.
It is also important to ensure you hold an adequate business insurance policy – including workers’ compensation insurance – to protect you and your business if and when a dropped object causes personal injury or property damage in your workplace.