Control measures to support falling object prevention
Managing health and safety risks in the workplace is a continuous process that must adapt to changes within the work environment. Regular reviews of procedures and risk control measures are essential to verify their ongoing effectiveness.
It is important for businesses to guarantee that control measures align with the nature and duration of the work, are correctly installed and utilised, and are consistently maintained in optimal working condition.
Working at a heightExamples of controls for working at heights include:
- Secure tools and equipment by tethering them with appropriate load-rated tool tethers.
- Store and organise tools and equipment in load-rated lifting bags.
- Keep large equipment at ground level to minimise risks.
- Maintain good housekeeping by keeping the work area tidy, ensuring materials, debris, and unused tools are safely stored out of the way.
- When placing tools or equipment on scaffolding or a platform, establish a secure physical barrier at the elevated area's edge, such as toe boards or infill panels integrated into a guardrail system.
- Keep tools and materials away from edges and avoid placing them on railings or sills.
- Use chutes when disposing of debris into a skip below the work area to ensure safe and controlled removal.
Securing a loadTo prevent objects from freely falling between different levels during use or storage, it is essential to implement secure physical barriers. Additional control measures to enhance safety include:
- Stacking items in a manner that prevents sliding, falling, or collapsing when stored above ground level.
- Using netting or restraining bars to secure items in place, minimising the risk of easy displacement if disturbed during storage.
- Adhering to the safe load limit of the storage system when arranging items.
- Ensuring that shelving systems, barriers, and other fittings are adequately secured and well-maintained.
- Regularly inspecting pallets before use to verify their safe condition.
- Loading pallets correctly to ensure load stability; the use of banding, shrink wrap, or stretch wrap can contribute to stability.
Moving a loadWhen moving tools, equipment, or a load, it is essential to employ a secure method for transporting, or raising and lowering tools, equipment, materials, and debris. Additional control measures to ensure safety include:
- Ensuring that handling equipment, including lifting bags, is suitable for the job and undergoes proper inspection, maintenance, and operation by competent and/or qualified personnel as required.
- Adhering to safe working load limits, considering factors such as the approved load-rating of lifting bags, the stability of ground conditions, use of outriggers or stabilizers, slewing rate, and weather conditions (if applicable).
- Verifying that the load is securely stored and positioned during the lifting process.
- Enclosing areas over which loads are being lifted to prevent accidents by using equipment like Gap Maps or Gap Screens.
- Establishing “isolation” or “no-go” zones using zone exclusion barriers and trained workers to restrict access to the lifting operation.
Principal contractors and other individuals conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) engaged in demolition work must implement sufficient measures to prevent objects from falling onto or striking workers or individuals in neighbouring areas, such as public footpaths, roads, or adjacent buildings.
Preventing the fall of objects should be a primary consideration on every work site, and efforts should be made to implement effective measures to eliminate the risk of falling objects. The implementation of control measures is crucial to safeguard both workers and individuals below from potential hazards posed by falling objects.