New Standard for Preventing Workplace Fatalities from Dropped Objects

July 30, 2018
The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have developed a first-in-the-industry standard aimed at helping employers reduce the risk of dropped objects incidents in industrial and occupational settings. ANSI/ISEA 121-2018, American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions—approved on July 2, 2018—establishes minimum design, performance, and labeling requirements for solutions and testing that mitigate this hazard.
“Every death in the workplace is a tragedy, and ISEA is dedicated to helping industries and employers protect their workers from being injured or killed by falling objects,” said Nate Bohmbach, Associate Product Director, Ergodyne and Chair of ISEA’s Dropped Object Prevention Group.
The standard comes in response to the thousands of workers each year in the U.S. who are injured—and the hundreds who die—from being struck by a falling object, such as hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that have to be transferred and used at heights. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 255 fatalities and 47,920 reported injuries from dropped objects in the United States, making this the third leading cause of injuries on the jobsite, according to OSHA. Compared to 2015, deaths from dropped objects were up approximately 3.24%, and injuries increased by 6.85%.
Overall struck-by injuries were up 8.7% from 2013 to 2014 and are projected to increase to 9.1% by the end of 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Liberty Mutual Insurance alone said it paid out $5.3 billion in workers compensation claims from 2013 to 2014. Workers comp claims don’t include damage to equipment, structures and the environment.
“The Dropped Object Prevention Group has worked countless hours to help save lives by creating this groundbreaking new standard. We developed it from scratch—it’s not a revision of anything—and that makes it particularly significant,” explained Bohmbach. “The standard kicks off a new generation of tethering practices. A lot of people are tethering their tools and equipment using just duct tape and rope, which is pretty alarming, so this standard guides employers and workers toward safer, more reliable solutions.”
ISEA took the lead in responding to this little-known hazard by forming the Dropped Object Prevention Group—including leading safety equipment manufacturers, such as Ergodyne, 3M Safety,Guardian Fall Protection, Hammerhead Industries, Radians, Ty-Flot, and West Coast Corporation—to standardize the solutions available to protect workers from objects falling from heights.
“Eliminating the risk of injuries is an important part of any safety program. We are proud to have developed a standard that will play a part in keeping workers safer,” said Cristine Fargo, ISEA Director of Member and Technical Services.
Industries, where elevated work areas are common, have been especially susceptible to the risk of dropped objects, including the oil and gas, construction, energy and telecommunications infrastructure, shipping operations and aviation industries.
“By establishing manufacturing guidelines for tethering systems, the ANSI/ISEA 121-2018, is a significant first step in reducing dropped tool incidents,” said John Salentine, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Hammerhead Industries, Gear Keeper Products and member of ISEA’s Dropped Object Prevention Group. “The standard establishes minimum design, performance, and labeling requirements that can mitigate this hazard. Users can feel confident that the ANSI/ISEA compatible tool tethering systems they choose have met these guidelines. This is extremely important because ANSI/ISEA 121 tethering systems include many components (i.e. tool attachments, lanyards, carabiners and anchor points) that will work safely together even when purchased from different manufacturers. ANSI/ISEA 121 provides recommendations and information to help employers understand how to match tethers with tool attachments and anchor points for a safer work environment and help minimize the risk of dropped object incidents. ISEA will look to develop additional resources to help employers minimize the risk of dropped object incidents.”
The standard addresses four active controls, but does not include passive controls. The active controls are:
  • Anchor attachments
  • Tool attachments
  • Tool tethers
  • Containers (buckets, pouches)
“ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 gives manufacturers guidelines, and establishes minimum design, testing and performance criteria,” explained Matt Thoms, Designer/Drafter, 3M and member of ISEA’s Dropped Object Prevention Group. “Clearly, a variety of industries should be using safety products that will help keep tools and other items from falling off workers and equipment at heights.”
Copies of the standard can be purchased online from ISEA and from ANSI’s licensed resellers.
Hazardous Waste Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations.  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD10 tablet at no extra charge.

New Dangerous Substances Database from EU-OSHA
Do you work with dangerous substances or manage people who do? Do you need more information on how to assess and manage the risks? If so, have a look at EU-OSHA’s comprehensive new database on practical tools and guidance on dangerous substances, with links to key resources and audiovisual tools from Member States, EU and beyond. It includes several new case studies created for the current Healthy Workplaces Campaign, which provide real-life examples of good practice in dealing with dangerous substances.
The hundreds of database entries cover topics like training or risk assessment, carcinogens and substitution. What’s more, the database is easy to search, so, if you’re interested in resources on a specific country, sector, work task or hazard, you can quickly and easily find exactly what you’re looking for.
Educators Cautioned About Classroom Demonstrations Involving Fire
The risks of classroom demonstrations that involve lighting solvents on fire are outlined in an article in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education. Over the past 20 years, 164 children and educators have been reported as injured by flash fires, flame jets and projectiles after the presenter lost control of the experiment. The most problematic of these has been the “rainbow demonstration.”
The article, “Playing with Fire: Chemical Safety Expertise Required,” discusses why such experiments continue to be performed and encourages safer practices. Free access is available for a limited time here:
The series “Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety“ and other resources about chemical and laboratory safety are available at
Employers Urged to Protect Outdoor Workers as Temperatures Rise
Cal/OSHA urged all employers with outdoor workers to protect their employees by ensuring they are properly trained on how to prevent heat illness.
“Supervisors and outdoor workers must be trained on how to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of heat illness,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Cal/OSHA continues our outreach, consultation and training for workers and employers to ensure that workers are protected from the heat.”
California’s heat illness prevention regulation requires employers with outdoor workers to take the following four steps to prevent heat illness:
  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Cal/OSHA urged workers experiencing possible overheating to take a preventative cool- down rest in the shade until symptoms are gone. Workers who have existing health problems or medical conditions that reduce tolerance to heat, such as diabetes, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a worker’s risk for heat illness.
In addition to the other requirements outlined by California’s heat illness prevention regulation, it is crucial that supervisors are effectively trained on emergency procedures in case a worker does get sick. This helps ensure sick employees receive treatment immediately and that the symptoms do not develop into a serious illness or death.
Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program, the first of its kind in the nation, includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Online information on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the Water. Rest. Shade. campaign site. A Heat Illness Prevention e-tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Amendment to Proposition 65 Maximum Allowable Dose Level for Metham Sodium 
On July 17, 2018, the California Office of Administrative Law approved an amendment of Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25805, Maximum Allowable Dose Level (MADL) for the chemical metham sodium. The regulation will be effective on October 1, 2018. This regulation establishes a MADL of 290 micrograms per day for metham sodium.
Questions regarding this action can be directed to Esther Barajas-Ochoa, at sends email) or 916-322-2068.
California to Consider Listing Nickel and Nickel Compounds as Reproductive Hazards
Nickel and nickel compounds will be considered for possible listing by the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) of California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) at a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 11, 2018. The meeting will be held in the Sierra Hearing Room at the CalEPA Headquarters building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and will last until all business is conducted or until 5:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting will be provided in a future public notice published in advance of the meeting.
OEHHA announced the availability for public review of the hazard identification document entitled: “Evidence on the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity of Nickel and Nickel Compounds”. The DARTIC will consider this document in making any listing decision on nickel and nickel compounds at its October 11, 2018 meeting. In preparing this document, OEHHA issued a request for information relevant to the assessment of the evidence of developmental and male and female reproductive toxicity for nickel and nickel compounds. The data call-in period for nickel and nickel compounds opened on February 19, 2016, and closed on April 4, 2016. OEHHA considered information received from the data call-in in preparing the hazard identification document. Copies of the document are available from OEHHA’s web site at The document may also be requested from OEHHA’s Proposition 65 Implementation Office by calling 916-445-6900.
Comments on this document must be receives by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 11, 2018. Parties who identify data relevant to the potential developmental, male and female reproductive toxicity of nickel and nickel compounds that are not included in the hazard identification materials are encouraged to submit them to OEHHA during the public comment period. All timely filed public comments and supporting materials will be provided to DARTIC members in advance of the meeting. The public is also able to make oral comments at the meeting. Public comments at the meeting will be limited to five minutes per commenter, except for those commenters who make requests by September 11, 2018 and receive approval from the Chair for longer comments. If you would like to make public comments to the Committee exceeding five minutes, please submit a request with an estimate of the time you will need and the reason you are requesting additional time, to the Proposition 65 mailbox at or call the Proposition 65 Implementation Office at 916-445-6900 by 5 p.m. on September 11, 2018.
Comments on the hazard identification document may be submitted electronically through OEHHA’s website at Questions on the document may be directed to Michelle Ramirez at or 916-445-6900.
The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency for the implementation of Proposition 65. The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) of OEHHA’s Science Advisory Board serves as the state’s qualified experts and renders an opinion about whether a chemical has been clearly shown to cause reproductive toxicity. The chemicals so identified by the DARTIC are added to the Proposition 65 list.
Contractor Ordered to Pay $250,000 for Safety Violations Following Fatal Fall at Dallas Apartment Complex
U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade has ordered Design Plastering West LLC to pay criminal and civil penalties for criminal violations of occupational safety and health standards after an employee suffered a fatal fall at an apartment complex in Dallas. The court ordered the company to pay a $150,000 criminal fine, $100,000 civil penalty, admit to eight willful violations, and to undergo monitoring by  OSHA for four years.
On May 14, 2015, a worker fell from a third floor balcony while applying stucco without fall protection. OSHA cited the company for willfully failing to install scaffolding and provide workers with personal fall protection. In May 2018, Design Plastering West LLC pleaded guilty to the willful citation on fall protection.
"This company failed to comply with well-known safety requirements," said OSHA’s Dallas Region Acting Regional Administrator Eric Harbin. "This sentence should serve as a reminder that employers can be held criminally responsible for failing to protect their workers’ safety."
The criminal prosecution and sentencing in this case was the result of a collaboration between OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. 
Countertop Company Cited for Safety and Health Violations
OSHA has cited Berry Marble Company Inc. – doing business as U.S. Granite – for exposing employees to machine hazards. The Tyler, Texas, natural stone countertop manufacturer faces $318,687 in proposed penalties.
OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to remove damaged lifting slings from service; train workers in lockout/tagout procedures; review the company’s lockout/tagout procedures; complete a hazard assessment; and provide employees with adequate hand protection. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in May 2015.
"It is unacceptable for an employer to continue to expose employees to serious hazards by disregarding known safety requirements," said OSHA Dallas Area Office Director Basil Singh.
Fibre Specialty Company Inc Cited for Exposing Employees to Amputation and Other Hazards
OSHA has cited Wilmington Fibre Specialty Company Inc. for exposing employees at its New Castle, Delaware, facility to workplace safety hazards. The company faces $146,152 in proposed penalties. OSHA inspected the facility in December 2017 after an employee suffered an injury while using an improperly guarded punch press and had three fingers subsequently amputated. OSHA cited the company for inadequate machine guarding and failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy, and report this incident and previous amputations to OSHA.
"Companies must monitor their facilities to ensure workplace health and safety procedures are adequate and effective," said OSHA Wilmington Area Office Director Erin G. Patterson. "When lockout/tagout is not implemented and machines are not guarded, employees are exposed to hazards that can cause amputations, and other serious injuries."
Safety Violations Found Following Fatal Kentucky Shipyard Towboat Explosion
OSHA has cited five contractors for safety and health violations after three employees were fatally injured and two others critically injured following an explosion onboard a towboat in Calvert City, Kentucky. The five companies collectively received 55 of violations with proposed penalties totaling $795,254.
OSHA cited ship repair contractor First Marine LLC; insulation contractor Thermal Control and Fabrication Inc.; temporary staffing companies Hutco Inc. and Day Help LLC (doing business as Wise Staffing Group); and blasting and painting contractor Joe Rupcke. First Marine LLC has been placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA’s investigation determined that the explosion occurred when employees were cutting and welding in an atmosphere containing flammable gases. OSHA issued citations for failing to test confined spaces before entry; train workers on confined space entry operations; label chemical containers; exposing employees to asphyxiation, fire and explosion, chemical, trip, and drowning hazards; and allowing hot work/welding to be performed without testing for an explosive atmosphere.
"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employers had followed proper confined space procedures and implemented appropriate safety measures," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt A. Petermeyer.
Alabama Manufacturer Cited for Exposing Employees to Workplace Hazards
OSHA has cited Packaging Corp. of America for exposing employees to unprotected machinery and amputation hazards. The cardboard box manufacturer, based in Opelika, Alabama, faces proposed penalties of $66,612.
OSHA cited the company for failing to provide written procedures to control the release of hazardous energy; exposing employees to struck-by, caught-in and amputation hazards; and allowing employees to operate forklifts without required training. The investigation is part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations.
"Packaging Corp. of America should have incorporated a comprehensive safety and health program that would have identified these hazards and protected their employees from the risk of serious injuries," said OSHA Mobile Area Office Director Joseph Roesler.
Updated Public Health Goals for Cis- and Trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene in Drinking Water
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced the publication of updated Public Health Goals (PHGs) and availability of the technical support document for cis- and trans-1,2-dichloroethylene in drinking water. A PHG is the level of a drinking water contaminant at which adverse health effects are not expected to occur from a lifetime of exposure. Due to the updated toxicological assessment and methodology applied, this update lowers the 2006 PHG for cis-1,2-dichloroethylene from 100 parts per billion (ppb) to 13 ppb, and for trans-1,2-dichloroethylene from the 2006 value of 60 ppb to 50 ppb. External peer review and public comments, and OEHHA’s responses, are also available for download.
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