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The real cost of dropped objects

by Sean Aucamp 06 Jun 2024

The impact of dropped objects is a concern in workplaces worldwide, especially when working at heights. Objects dropped from a height can exert a force comparable to a much larger tool, posing a significant risk of causing severe injuries. Understanding the impact dropped object incidents can have, is the first step towards recognizing and eliminating these risks.

Incidents involving dropped objects not only jeopardize the safety of workers and bystanders but also compromise the integrity of equipment and the reputation of the business. While worker safety is the priority, the cumulative impact of these factors can result in financial losses. (Dropsafe, 2023)

What impact does it have on worker safety?

Undoubtedly, the foremost consequence of a dropped object is its impact on worker safety, with the potential for injury or fatality. Even injuries that are not fatal can have ongoing issues like medical expenses, familial trauma, and loss of income. There is no excuse for worksites, in any industry, to endanger worker safety due to inadequate safety measures.

Implementing safety programs that includes regular safety meetings and training, as well as regular worksite, tool and equipment inspections and audits, can help reduce the risk of dropped objects and promote a culture of safety. Not only will a safety program help identify and address potential hazards, but it can also ensure that workers are aware of the risks and know how to safely perform their tasks. (Online Safety Trainer, 2023).

What impact does it have on equipment integrity?

A dropped object has the potential to impact surrounding equipment, resulting in tool loss and structural damage. Should such an incident inflict damage to essential equipment, the repercussions extend beyond the expense of replacing affected assets. It could prompt a temporary stop in operations, contributing to additional financial setbacks or penalties.

Equipment and tools should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good working order and that there are no defects that could cause them to fail. (Online Safety Trainer, 2023).  This includes inspecting tool connectors, tool tethers, anchor points, and all personal protective equipment (PPE) for signs of wear or damage. Regular inspection is important to prevent equipment failure and reduce the risk of dropped objects.

What impact does it have on business reputation?

Dropped objects not only pose risks to the safety of workers, bystanders and equipment but also have broader consequences.  While the impacts of reputational damage can be short-lived, severe reputational damage can result in a loss of customers, drop in sales, decrease in employee retention, challenges with recruiting workers and increased recruitment costs, significant financial losses, or bankruptcy, and even increase liquidity risk, impacting stock price. (Coleman, 2023).  

What are the financial repercussions?

Financial impacts may be the least of a worker’s concerns, but combined, these risks can impact the financial standing of a business in different ways – directly or indirectly.

Although equipment and tools are replaceable, the gravity of an incident may cause temporary or prolonged disruptions to business operations, resulting in financial setbacks. If an incident results in worker injuries or fatalities, the business may face medical expenses, workers' compensation claims, and potential legal liabilities.

Evaluating indirect costs can prove challenging due to factors such as training replacement workers, conducting incident investigations, implementing corrective measures, addressing lost productivity, repairing damaged equipment and property, and managing expenses linked to lower worker morale and absenteeism. These indirect costs may pose a greater challenge for assessment and analysis, potentially surpassing direct costs in terms of overall expense. (FDR Safety, 2018).

By ensuring you have adequate safety systems installed, dropped object risks can be mitigated before they become issues. As global leaders in engineered solutions for drop prevention, we work closely with partners across a wide range of industry sectors; engineering solutions to ensure that their workforce returned home safely after each shift.

GRIPPS® is dedicated to saving lives, through the implementation of innovative, engineered drop prevention solutions.

To find out how we can assist on your operations at height, contact us today.

 

Sources:

Coleman, K. (2023). Assessing the risk of reputational damage. Austin, Texas, United States.

Dropsafe. (2023). Dropped Object Prevention. Retrieved from https://dropsafe.com/dropped-object-prevention

FDR Safety. (2018, August 21). The financial impact of workplace injury. Retrieved from Safety and Sustainability: https://www.fdrsafety.com/financial-impact-of-a-workplace-injury/

Online Safety Trainer. (2023, January 28). Tips to Reduce the Risk of Falling Objects at Work. Retrieved from Online Safety Trainer: https://www.onlinesafetytrainer.com/10-tips-to-reduce-the-risk-of-falling-objects-at-work/

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