Why tether tools? The case for drop prevention.

Dropped Object Prevention

Dropped and falling objects present a constant risk when working at height. Health and Safety officers around the world continue to explore primary measures to control and prevent dropped objects using tool safety lanyards and other tethering systems.

HSE’s Riddor Report highlights that objects falling from height are among the top causes of death in the workplace. But drops aren't just a threat to safety - they clearly have a negative impact also on productivity.

If you are looking to implement a Dropped Object Prevention Scheme, or need assistance with writing your policy, Never Let Go can help you stop the drop!

Dropped and Falling Object Prevention


What is a dropped object?

There are the two types of falling objects:

Static Dropped Object

Any object that falls from its previous position under its own weight (gravity) without any applied force. For example failure caused by corrosion or vibration.

Dynamic Dropped Object

Any object that falls from its previous position due to applied force. For example collisions involving moving equipment or loads, snagging on machinery or stacked items, dislodged tools or equipment.


Learn everything you need to know about Drop Prevention


What Causes Dropped Objects?

A host of factors can contribute to a dropped object incident. It is important to consider these during worksite hazard identification. Energy sources such as gravity, wind and mechanical motion can instigate a sequence of events that result in something falling. Add corrosion, lack of awareness and inadequate inspection or maintenance and you can almost guarantee a dropped object incident will occur.

Statistics show that around 30% of all dropped object incidents are related to design, technical or mechanical issues but almost half can be attributed to human factors.

You can learn more about the Causes of Dropped Objects in our free handbook.

Dropped Object Calculator

This calculator helps measure the potential consequences of a falling object and is a very useful tool during the risk assessment process.

Dropped Object Calculator

Here’s a few considerations to bear in mind:

  • With light objects (<0.1 kg) a key influencing factor is the effect of an object puncturing the skin and damaging tissue/organic functions. The calculator assumes a blunt object, so is not compatible with broken glass, metal shards etc.
  • The wearing of standard PPE, eg hard hat, safety boots and eye protection, is assumed in the calculator.
  • Do not subtract the height of an individual. Measure the complete fall distance to the ground.
  • This DROPS Calculator tool is a guide only, providing a cursory indication of possible outcome.

Dropped Objects Safety Video

This falling objects experiment is a powerful way to present the impact force of a dropped object to your team. In this example a 3.5kg wrench is dropped from 60 metres.


What should we do about drops?

We cannot simply accept that dropped objects are an inherent hazard of our working environment. A system must be put in place to identify and prevent, and where reasonably practicable, manage the risks associated with dropped objects.

Why you should tether tools

Tool tethering saves time, money – and lives.

Saving lives

Often overlooked in favour of the highest profile workplace killer, people falling from height, falling tools are now the second biggest killer in the UK workplace. We’re working to stop this killer in its tracks.

Saving money

Last year, around 42,000 days were taken off work due to injuries caused by objects dropped from height. That’s not to mention the cost of the lost tools, downtime while tools are recovered and damage to items in the drop zone. How much money could we save your business?

Saving time

In 2008, a NASA astronaut working on the International Space Station allowed a tool pouch to drift out of their reach. The implications were massive: they couldn’t complete the job, they lost an expensive set of tools and they spent hours going back inside for replacement tools. Had they tethered their tools, it would have been a completely different story.

This may be an extreme case, but every dropped tool has a time implication. There are also many other benefits to tool tethering:

  • Productivity gains in knowing exactly where your tools are
  • Not worrying about where to put your tools when there is nowhere to put them down
  • Removing the chance of your tools going home in someone else’s bag.

Let’s hear from the HSE

Naturally, the Health and Safety Executive has a healthy interest in working with tools at height. As you’ll see, not taking suitable precautions is illegal.

The Working at Height Regulation 2005 states about Falling Objects

10. (1) Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object.

(2) Where it is not reasonably practicable to comply with the requirements of paragraph (1), every employer shall take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent any person being struck by any falling material or object which is liable to cause personal injury.

(3) Every employer shall ensure that no material or object is thrown or tipped from height in circumstances where it is liable to cause injury to any person.

(4) Every employer shall ensure that materials and objects are stored in such a way as to prevent risk to any person arising from the collapse, overturning or unintended movement of such materials or objects.

Toolbox Talks and Dropped Object Awareness Training

Never Let Go will support with the whole site setup, from launching a dropped object awareness campaign to training and tool tethering certification. We have posters, safety videos and quick-start guides that will give your team a clear understanding of the risks and causes of dropped objects (see the Top 10 Causes of Drops in our NLG blog). 

Killer on the Loose - Dropped Object Awareness Safety Video 

  NLG Dropped Object Prevention Handbook