At GRIPPS, we understand that it can be difficult to develop a full and complete picture of the risks at your job site. If you work in an industry where the risks of dropped tools are less known, identifying unsafe situations or practices before they pose a real hazard to the safety of staff can take more work and often some guidance.

To help every worker in every job go home safe, we’ve written this article highlighting some of the risks of dropped tools in industries other than construction. Our hope is to get you thinking laterally about the kind of risks on your jobsite, helping you find them sooner and deal with them more effectively. Let us help you build the awareness needed to identify and resolve dangers on your jobsite.

Agriculture

The agriculture and forestry industry is the largest employer in regional and rural areas. Every day, Australia counts on her farmers to feed the nation, but it’s not an easy job. While other industries have seen a decrease in fatalities in the previous decade, accident rates in agriculture have remained stubbornly high.

In the 13-year period from 2003 to 2015 inclusive, 46 workers on Australian farms lost their lives to falling objects. Some sectors of the industry are safer than others in this regard – within that period, not a single death relating to being hit by a falling object was recorded at a dairy farm, while 34 were recorded at sheep, beef cattle and grain farming operations.

Regardless of the specific nature of your farm work, complacency runs the risk of inviting disaster. Ensure that you’re always practicing good safety habits when working at heights – such as on an elevated work platform or in silos – and tether your tools and equipment.

Mining

Mining is one of Australia’s most valuable economic sectors. Employing more than 200,000 Australians, it’s also one of the country’s largest. The gruelling physical demands, challenging environmental conditions and isolated nature of most mine work mean that it’s an industry that requires special care when creating safety practices.

This is borne out in industry and government figures that point to a frightening number of workplace deaths in the industry, particularly from falling objects. In 2016 alone, six people died on Australian mine sites – three of them from falling objects. Caused by everything from human error to harsh environmental factors, corrosion and vibration, falling objects are a major hazard in mining. When 50% of an industry’s on the job deaths result from a single mechanism of injury, the need for a careful and comprehensive response is clear.

Arts & recreation

While not an industry that many would think of as one that has to guard against dropped tools, Safe Work Australia’s October 2013 report recorded two deaths in the arts and recreation industry involving a fall from height – of a person or an object.

The use of elevated work platforms, scaffolding and other raised areas in theatres and concert halls provides ample opportunity for tool drop incidents. So much so that some organisations have developed guides to avoiding falling object injuries specifically for the theatre industry.

As with any industry involving working at heights, ensure that exclusion zones underneath elevated areas are in place and that all tools are properly tethered.

Helping Australians in every industry go home safe

Regardless of the specific nature of your industry, we want to help. If you work in an environment where the risk of dropped tools exists, GRIPPS has the solution. We offer a comprehensive auditing and education program called Target: Zero Drops.

An industry-first initiative, Target: Zero Drops takes your organisation through a multi-step process that identifies dropped tool risks and analyses your existing safety procedures before providing you with a range of awareness, training, communication and results management services available as a package or individually. Fully modular and delivered by experienced safety experts onsite at your organisation, Target: Zero Drops provides a comprehensive solution to the problem of dropped tools, providing you and your team with the equipment, knowledge and awareness needed to recognise, avoid and eliminate tool drop incidents.

The end result of the Target: Zero Drops program is a smarter, more effective approach to mitigating and eliminating dropped tool incidents that’s aligned to your business’ unique needs and goals.

If you’re serious about achieving Zero Drops on your jobsite, speak to the people who understand better than anyone. Send us an enquiry at targetzero@gripps.com.au and we’ll be happy to help you get started on your journey towards a drop-free workplace.