Dropped Objects continue to pose the greatest risk of serious injuries, fatalities and equipment damage in several industries worldwide. Similar statistics apply to leisure activities and home life too.

Read below what a fallen object consists on, and what are the risks, their causes, that need to be prevented:

What is a Dropped Object?

Any item that falls or falls over from its previous position that has the potential to cause injury, death or equipment /environmental damage. Dropped objects may be further classified as static or dynamic.

Static Dropped Object

Any object that falls from its previous position under its own weight due to gravitational forces (ie without any applied force). For example, failure caused by corrosion or improper fixings.

Dynamic Dropped Object

Any object that falls from its previous position due to applied force. For example, impacts involving travelling equipment or loads, snagging on machinery or stacked items, motion, helicopter downdraft or severe weather.

What Causes Dropped Objects?

  • Energy sources such as gravity, wind, heave and mechanical motion
  • Corrosion
  • Lack of awareness
  • Inadequate inspection or maintenance

Around 30% of all dropped object incidents are related to design, technical or mechanical issues but almost half can be attributed to human factors. (Source DORIS).

What Should We Do About It?

A system should be put in place to identify and prevent, and where reasonably practicable, manage the risks associated with dropped objects.

Top Causes of Dropped Objects

  • Inadequate Risk Assessment: Failure to identify dropped object hazards

  • Human Factors: Operator error, poor behavior, complacency, neglect

  • Inadequate Procedures: Bad planning, no management of change

  • Failed Fixtures and Fittings: Corrosion, vibration, poor design, selection or improper installation

  • Poor Housekeeping: Pre-existing hazards from previous tasks

  • Collisions and Snagging: Lifting, travelling equipment, tag lines, service loops

  • Inadequate Inspection, Repair and Maintenance : Ignoring unsafe conditions

  • Redundant, Neglected and Home-made Tools and Equipment: Should be eliminated

  • Inadequately Stored or Secured Tools and Equipment: No lanyards or tethers being used

  • Environmental Factors: Wind, sea motion, ice, snow, extreme conditions

Dropped Objects also account for significant equipment and environmental damage. Even items that fall into the sea can still carry enough force to cause severe damage to critical subsea infrastructure. Dropped objects are bad for business too, even when nobody gets hurt.