Heads Up! Falling Object Prevention and Protection

Date: April 26, 2022

Nancy Rigby, BITCO Home Office Technical Specialist, Risk Control

Recommendations for Scaffolding Safety

Gravity never fails in the construction industry. An object as small as a bolt falling from above can cause severe injury or death. According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, in 2020, there were 217 fatal injuries due to employees getting struck by falling objects or equipment. Learn more about the risks and what you can do to protect your workers from falling objects.


Objects falling from elevated work platforms, such as scaffolds, can cause injuries ranging from contusions to fractures, strains, sprains, or even death to workers or individuals passing by. As a result, your company could experience significant financial loss from property damage and business interruption.

Falling Object Protection

When it comes to scaffolding, objects such as steel beams and roof trusses can fall from the platform. Wearing the proper headgear can help prevent these types of injuries. Toeboards, screens, guardrail systems, debris nets, catch platforms, and canopy structures can be installed at job sites for additional protection.

Working Below Scaffolds

When materials are stacked higher than the toeboard, install paneling or screening that extends the toeboard or platform to the top of the guardrail.

The area below the scaffold should be marked off to prevent unauthorized entry. Signs should also be placed around it to indicate the exclusion zone

People walking near work zones are at risk of getting injured. They should be informed about the danger and be protected from falling objects.

Recommended Practices

To protect against falling objects, employers should use these good practices.

  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment such as a hard hat, high-visibility clothing, steel toe boots, eye, hand, and hearing protection.
  • Implement a fall protection program and provide a competent person to implement the program.
  • Raise overall falling object identification and mitigation awareness on the job site.
  • Avoid storing loose material on elevated work platforms. Never place materials that can roll or slide in the direction of an opening.
  • Safely dispose of construction materials using debris chutes.
  • Utilize tool lanyards and tethers when possible. These lanyards attach tools directly to the worker's harness or tool belt.
  • Place non-slip plywood or similar product over open grating to prevent small objects from falling through.
  • Keep walkways clear to avoid knocking or hitting something off to the level below.

We take pride in helping keep your employees safe on the job site. For more safety tips, contact your local Risk Control Consultant. To find a BITCO agent near you, click the "Find an Agent" button below. We are here for you!

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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