Any piece of tool, equipment, or part of a building that has the potential to fall, collapse, or be ejected causing injury or death to persons due to strike or crush requires risk management and needs to be considered as a falling object.
The Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is required to manage the risks associated with an object falling on a person if it is reasonably likely to injure the person.
This includes such measures as:
- Fall prevention and securing of loads.
- Isolation and no-go zones.
- Appropriate training and supervision.
- Administrative controls (safe work method statements and procedures).
- Regular inspections and good housekeeping techniques.
- Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
NOTE: PPE should be used in conjunction with other preventative measures, it is not an adequate level of risk management on its own.
The best way to manage risk in any workplace is to consult all stakeholders in the risk management process. An example of stakeholder consultation is to include workers, safety representatives, and committees in your safety discussions and decision-making processes. By using the collective experiences of your stakeholders, you are more likely to identify risks and hazards and choose effective control measures.
Some suggested controls to consider include:
- Stacking items at ground level.
- Loading pallets correctly and ensuring they are in a safe condition prior to use.
- Using netting, strapping, or restraints to keep items in place if stored above ground level.
- Following safe load limits when storing and transporting items.
- Forklifts and moving equipment are to be maintained, in good condition, suitable for the terrain, and operated by trained and licensed persons.
- Setting up no-go or isolation zones which can include the setup of barriers etc.
When working at heights you should:
- ensure your tools and equipment are away from edges and sills,
- tether and secure tools to ensure they do not fall,
- practice good housekeeping techniques and,
- when working on scaffolds ensure toe boards, falling object protective structures (FOPS), and infill panels are in use.
Remember – it’s much better to prevent an object from falling rather than to have to make changes after a fall or injury has taken place.