In 2016, approximately 3,860 workers were injured by falling tools and had to take at least one day off work to recover, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the injuries occurred from falling hammers and similar tools. As Metal News points out, a tool weighing eight pounds travels at a speed of 80 miles per hour when dropped from a height of 200 feet, with an impact force of 5,540 pounds when it hits the ground or a worker in the head. Worker injuries are not the only casualty of falling tools. Falling tools may cause serious injuries or fatalities down the line. A new voluntary safety gear standard may reduce the number of falling tool injuries.
Voluntary Safety Standard
The new standard was developed not by the government, but by safety gear manufacturers, all of whom are some of the largest producers of safety equipment in the country. In July 2018, the standard was adopted by the American National Standards Institute, and is known as the American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions.
The standard establishes minimum labeling, performance, and design requirements for solutions intended to reduce the number of dropped tool incidents in the workplace. The new standard focuses on coming up with preventive measures used actively by workers to reduce these hazards. Such equipment may include attaching straps to tools, the use of tool containers, such as pouches, and the use of tethers on tools.
No Prior Consistency
The new standard creates a consistent way for determining how much weight and force tools may withstand. Previously, different manufacturers would use different tests, and capacity determination was often not the same for an identical product due to lack of testing standardization. The new standard will include the gear’s capacity on the label and a notice stating if it meets the requirements. Currently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no rule regarding how workers must tie off the tools they carry. There is, however, a rule outlining how tools used in construction must be stored to avoid falling, as well as installing guardrails and similar protections to prevent tools from falling.
Since there was no prior standard, workers have long improvised ways to safely carry tools. Some employees might tape chords to their hammers, and then attach them to their tool belts. Since then, manufacturers have produced small tethers that attach tools to belts. Due to the standard in place, manufacturers should adjust their products to meet the standard.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Those Harmed by Falling Tools
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law. Call us today at 215-426-4493 or contact us online. We are in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.