If you have ever looked down from a great height, you may have wondered what would happen if you accidentally dropped something from your fingers. Unfortunately, some people in Illinois and across the country do not have to wonder since they have already suffered a harmful impact from an object falling from high above.
Falling objects are so common that, according to EHS Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 50,000 instances of injuries from falling objects per year, amounting to one falling object every 10 minutes. With so many injuries occurring because of dropping objects, it seems strange that responsible parties do not do more to stop them from happening.
Why do falling objects happen?
Because many construction workers and maintenance employees work at great heights, there are many chances for them to drop a tool. While construction companies and other contractors outfit their workers with fall protection harnesses, they have not as yet developed similar prevention methods for tools. At the moment, companies usually focus on secondary measures like debris nets to catch tools that have already fallen.
What makes falling objects deadly?
The mere fact that an object may hit someone in the head can cause a traumatic brain injury. However, the fact that an object falls from a tall height may make the falling item even deadlier. As the EHS Today article explains, if a person dropped an eight pound wrench from 200 feet up, it would strike the ground with the force equivalent of a small car impacting an area of one square inch. This kind of force explains why, in one instance in Jersey City, a person suffered a fatal injury from a falling one pound tape measurer dropped from 50 stories above.
With greater awareness of the problem of falling tools, more companies may try methods like tethering tools to keep them from dropping and striking an unwary person below. Hopefully, it will not take more injuries and deaths from falling objects to motivate companies to get a better handle on this problem.