The purpose behind tool tethering is very simple. It comes down to the fact that there are thousands of avoidable injuries every year in the UK that occur as a direct result of dropped tools.
Understanding the Risks
We all know from our days in school that as an object falls toward the ground it accelerates exponentially. As it accelerates it picks up force which is transferred to any object it strikes on impact. It is this force which can be deadly to those standing below a dropped object. As an example, the average screwdriver dropped from a height of just 14m is equivalent to dropping it from four storeys when you figure in the physics. When you combine the original mass of the screwdriver with the acceleration, you can calculate that the screwdriver will hit the ground at an impact weight of nearly 74kg. That kind of weight at a fast enough speed is enough to kill someone even if he’s wearing a hard hat.
Identifying Site Specific Risks
Identifying specific risks in relation to a particular job site can be a difficult task for inspectors and workers due to the fact that there are far more risks than our brains are able to comprehend. Sometimes it’s helpful to have multiple individuals assess a job site on an individual basis. While most of the identified risks will overlap among inspectors, each one will undoubtedly identify some risks the others missed.
Furthermore, never under estimate an unlikely risk someone has identified – even if you have missed it. If you’ve been around dangerous work sites long enough you know that nothing is impossible. Some of the worst accidents are the freak ones that were never expected or planned for. Be careful to take into consideration all the risks identified and develop mitigation plans appropriately. Also be prepared to continually update their procedures and controls when the new risks are identified.
The third step involves implementing specific controls. In going through your dropped tools check list workers must confirm that they are aware of, understand, and are practising proper safety controls. Safety controls take into consideration elevation systems, tool tethering systems, weather conditions, and other environmental variables.
Be aware that the law stipulates that working at height is to be done in the safest possible way. That means considering things like whether or not the same work could be done more safely at ground level. It involves relying on a combination of safety nets, covered walkways, and tool tethers, rather than just one of the controls. In other words, the law mandates that companies carrying out working at height spare nothing to insure worker and tool safety.
Safety issues aside, tool tethering is also a good idea in order to protect your tools from damage. Dropped tools are likely to need replacing and on a large site, with a large inventory of tools, it makes sense to protect your financial investment by tool tethering.
Tethering Solutions & Training
Tool tethering is an important part of helping to protect your workers and tools when working at height. Leading Edge offer a wide range of tool tethering solutions plus tool tethering training. Contact us for more information.