Dropped Objects

Dropped Objects
DID YOU KNOW? A 700-gram bottle of water dropped from a 4-story building (15 meters high) could potentially kill a person if it strikes their head? 😲
Dropped objects are one of Australia’s most deadly workplace risks. In 2017, falling objects killed 15 workers.
Due to the potential fatal injuries that can result from being struck by a relatively light dropped object, this constitutes a significant occupational safety hazard and is a common source of injury and death.

On many job sites, there will be times when work is being done above ground level and at a higher level. When work is being done above the ground level there is always a risk for dropped objects to fall and cause injuries. Even if there is no one working above you they could have left tools and materials that could have the potential to move, shift, and fall causing injury to you or someone else. Even a small object such as a bolt can cause a major injury when dropped from a high level.


  • Be aware of the situations and actions that can drastically increase the risk of a dropped object:
  • Using tools and equipment not planned for the works (e.g., client provided equipment or your own personal equipment)
  • Using tools and equipment untethered (including removable parts like drill bits)
  • Not following appropriate tethering practices (e.g.using a single Karabiner to attach more than one item to your harness)
  • Storing items at height without adequate housing or strapping
  • Work involving dislodging building façades, and unknown wear, corrosion, vibration, or environmental conditions (e.g loose debris)
  • Failure to develop and apply job-specific safety plans (e.g SWMS)
  • Failure to develop and apply sufficient barricading and exclusion zones.


To prevent dropped objects, we need to:


  1. The SWMS / Plans must discuss the controls that will be followed to prevent and mitigate the risks of drops. • If parts of the structure could become detached during the work (e.g.debris or concrete).If tooling / equipment is being used at heights
  2. Only use approved equipment for the work. All equipment must be inspected and have provision for a lanyard.


  1. Ensure dropped objects are discussed in your Daily Pre-start.
  2. Ensure tools are tethered adequately before you start the job, and all equipment attached to a harness is within permissible limits. E.g., bulky, awkward, or heavy (e.g.over 8 kg) equipment should be fitted with a separate suspension system.
  3. Site leaders should periodically conduct a ‘Dropped Object Sweep’ as they progress towards and through the work site, in order to identify and remove any potential dropped objects.
  4. Ensure barricades and drop zones are set up and adhered to. NEVER SOLEY RELY ON AN EXCLUSION ZONES AS A PRIMARY CONTROL FOR DROPS
  5. Ensure all appropriate PPE is worn.