According to the Safe Work Australia Report Notified Fatalities 2010/11, death by falling objects has increased over the last few years (see Figure 2 above). Although it has not exceeded historical peak levels, this is the first time in the last 10 years that it has been the primary factor of workplace deaths.
Falling object incidents are often easily controlled, yet are an area in which people often become complacent. To avoid falling object incidents, the following are some preventative steps that can be taken.
- Avoid working directly beneath moving components of machinery eg conveyors. Where possible locate workstations away from such areas.
- Never allow workers to stand or work below a suspended load.
- Do not overload overhead racks and shelving.
- Mezzanine areas used for storage should have netting or mesh as well as safety rails, to avoid objects falling through.
- Conduct regular checks of overhead components to ensure structural integrity.