Protecting Workers from Falling Tools Goal of New Safety Standard

- Reducing worker injuries from falling tools is the aim of a new voluntary safety standard developed by safety gear manufacturers. The standard is a new step to deal with an old problem.

The standard sets minimum design, performance, testing, and labeling requirements for gear designed to prevent tools and other small objects from falling.

Prior to the standard (ANSI/ISEA 121-2018), manufacturers used different testing programs and didn’t have consistent ways of describing how much weight and force a device could withstand. Two tethers labeled as having a 15-pound capacity may go through different testing procedures to determine the capacity. The standard, approved July 2 by the American National Standards Institute, sets common testing method terms to describe the results. It also sets labeling requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have a specific rule for tying off tools carried by workers. The agency does have a rule requiring construction tools be stored so that they can’t fall (29 C.F.R. 1926.759(a)) and that guardrails and other barriers be in place to prevent tools from falling off floors (29 C.F.R. 1926.501(c)).

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