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Tool tethering. Mitigating the risk of falling objects.

by GRIPPS Global 18 Dec 2023

In the dynamic and fast-paced world of construction, maintenance, and industrial development, the importance of workplace safety cannot be overstated. One crucial aspect often overlooked is the proper management of tools and equipment to prevent accidents and injuries.

Businesses with a workforce that work at elevated heights must reduce the risk of falling objects through different safety measures. Implementing tool tethers to prevent tools from falling in the first place is a game-changer that ensures the safety of workers and enhances overall productivity and efficiency on the job. (X1 Safety, 2023).

GRIPPS®, through a range innovative tool tethering solution, is dedicated to saving lives. As global leaders in tool tethering, we work closely with partners across a wide range of industry sectors to ensure that their workforce return home safely after each shift – relying on our engineered solutions.

Safety first: Mitigating the risk of falling objects

The primary purpose of a tool tethering program is to enhance workplace safety by preventing tools from becoming hazardous projectiles. Tool tethers, also referred to as “lanyards”, help reduce the risks associated with dropping tools being used at height.

Tool tethers, often referred to as "lanyards," play a crucial role in mitigating the hazards associated with dropped tools when used at elevated heights. These tethers are specifically engineered to link the tool to a secure structure, functioning akin to a shock absorber. This design effectively decelerates a falling tool, preventing it from freely plummeting to the ground or floor below.

By diminishing the forces connected with a fall from height, tethers contribute to minimising or preventing damage to both the tool and the supporting structure. Additionally, they facilitate the easy retrieval of the tool by the user. (Power Tool Institute, 2020).

Implementing an effective tool tethering program reduces the risk of injuries caused by falling objects, creating a safer working environment for employees.

Increased productivity and reduced workplace injuries

Beyond safety considerations, an efficient tool tethering program contributes to increased productivity and reduced workplace injuries. Preventing, or reducing, workplace injuries can not only improve a business’ bottom line but also lead to a safer work environment.

Safer work environments contribute to better employee morale and increased productivity as a result of reducing interruptions in operations and lost time from work due to injuries. (Chubb Global Risk Advisors, 2021).

A comprehensive tool tethering program should be accompanied by training that instructs workers on the proper use of tethers, emphasising when and how to use them. Effective communication strategies should reinforce the significance of tethers in preventing injuries.

It is crucial for a business to foster a safety culture that acknowledges the risks associated with falling objects and implements measures to mitigate these hazards.(Chubb Global Risk Advisors, 2021).

Regulatory compliance and legal implications

The legal landscape surrounding workplace safety is evolving, with an increasing emphasis on employer responsibility. When choosing equipment such as tool tethers, anchor attachments, tool attachments, and containers for falling object protection, employers should choose equipment that meets ANSI/ISEA 121-2018.

Although the standard does not cover how to tether tools, it is focused on the equipment being used for tool tethering. That means that it is important to follow manufacturer guidance on weight limits for tethers, anchor points and harnesses, and make use of manufacturer training resources to learn how to safely tether tools. (Schrab, 2019).

Failing to implement adequate safety measures, including tool tethering, may result in regulatory penalties and legal consequences. Adopting a comprehensive tool tethering program not only ensures compliance but also protects businesses from potential legal challenges.

Long-term cost savings

Implementing safety measures, such as adopting a tool tethering program, is not solely about adhering to regulations; it also proves to be a wise financial decision in the long-term. Prioritising employee safety not only preserves lives but can also prevent substantial financial losses.

Neglecting safety measures may force businesses to incur significant expenses for repairing damages, covering the costs of injuries or fatalities, and even rebuilding their tarnished reputation. (Jones, 2023).

The value of an effective tool tethering program extends beyond the immediate benefits of safety. It positively influences productivity, ensures regulatory compliance, and safeguards businesses from legal and financial risks. As workplaces continue to evolve, prioritising the implementation of comprehensive tool tethering initiatives is crucial for fostering a secure and efficient work environment.

Businesses that recognise the advantages of such programs are not only prioritising the wellbeing of their workforce but also making a strategic investment in their long-term success.

Sources:

Chubb Global Risk Advisors. (2021, September). Using tethering tools to reduce workplace injuries. USA.

Jones, R. (2023, April 17). Understanding the true cost of a poor workplace safety culture. Retrieved from https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2023/04/17/Understanding-The-True-Cost-of-a-Poor-Workplace-Safety-Culture.aspx?Page=1

Power Tool Institute. (2020). Tool tethering. Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Schrab, G. (2019, February 27). ANSI/ISEA 121-2018: A Landmark in At-Heights Safety. Retrieved from https://www.ehstoday.com/ppe/fall-protection/article/21920021/ansiisea-1212018-a-landmark-in-atheights-safety

X1 Safety. (2023, January 11). Fall protection for tools & equipment - Primary dropped object prevention. Madison Heights, Michigan, USA.

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