Toolbox Meeting 9 -- FALLING OBJECTS

According to legend, Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity when he sat under a tree and was hit on the head with an apple. Unfortunately, on construction jobs, very few people get hit on the head with just apples. But a great many are struck by bits of mortar, pieces of wood, tools, metal scraps and other materials.

Look around and you'll see that many precautions have been taken to protect you from falling objects. The hard hat you are required to wear is, of course, your first line of protection. But a hard hat cannot protect your shoulders, arms and feet from small falling objects. And if you happen to be in the way of a large falling object, chances are that you will be seriously injured or even killed.

For the most part, the people below depend on those working above for their safety. However, there are a few rules to follow that help make everyone's job safer.

If you are working above the ground:
• Be careful so that material will not fall from your work site.
• Use trash containers or other means to keep debris from falling on persons below.
• Use the safety equipment and practices that are required for the job. Safety harnesses and shock-absorbing lanyards used as tools can prevent serious injuries.
• Don't engage in horseplay.
• Never deliberately throw or sweep material from above.
• Don't work, or allow others to work, under obviously unsafe conditions.

If you are working on the ground or below other employees:
• Wear the required safety equipment at all times, especially your hard hat.
• Observe restricted areas where heavy work is being performed above.
• Pay attention to what is going on around you, particularly when cranes and other equipment are being used to hoist materials in the air.

Following safety rules and using safety equipment will not only eliminate many accidents, but will also have a tendency to make those accidents that do occur, despite all precautions, less severe. If you make safety part of your daily routine, you will not only protect yourself, but also those around you.

Note to Discussion Leader: If there have been accidents related to falling objects in your area, be prepared to discuss them with your employees. Listen to their ideas; they may have the answer you have been looking for. Also, mention any hazards that may be unique to your particular operation.

For more information read Section 8 - Hoistways & Machine Rooms - in the Elevator Industry Field Employees' Safety Handbook