Dropped-Object Exclusion Zones

Enhancing Dropped-Object Safety with Proximity Detection Technology

Building a Better Approach to Dropped-Object Safety with Proximity Detection Technology

According to the HSE, being struck by a moving 1 object is a leading cause of fatal accidents among the UK’s workforce. In fact, such incidents were responsible for over 20% of all fatal injuries to workers during 2022/23. That’s 1 in 5 fatal workplace injuries caused by moving objects.

To combat this clear and persistent danger, there are steps that organisations can take to ensure the health and safety of their workers. In this article, we’ll review the risks that moving/falling objects pose to workers and explore how well-known approaches, such as ‘Red Zones’ can be implemented on worksites. Finally, we’ll examine how R-Link can support a more robust strategy in this key area of workplace health and safety.

HSE Report - Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain 

HSE Report - Work-related fatal injuries in Great Britain 

An overview of the risk landscape

Dropped or falling objects - more specifically, dangerous proximity to dropped or falling objects - is a key area of concern when it comes to the health and safety of workers across a variety of industries. In the construction sector, for example, objects or debris can fall from scaffolding and injure crew members working below. Similar types of incidents aren’t uncommon in other sectors: local grounds maintenance crews, technicians making repairs to the national grid, teams working at industrial sites, and technicians operating on bridges or above railways are all at risk of causing or sustaining an injury from falling tools or equipment.

But while a large amount of serious injuries and fatalities are caused by moving objects each year, these incidents are also largely preventable. With the right approach in place, teams can reduce their workers’ risk of injury from dropped or falling objects.

Implementing ‘Red Zones’ for dropped object safety

Different sectors and industries have different ways of approaching dropped object safety. Within the highly regulated Oil & Gas industry, dropped object safety is a key concern, as injuries to workers operating on oil rigs can be particularly devastating. Within this industry, the implementation of ‘Red Zones’ is the widely accepted approach to dropped object safety. The guidelines for Red Zones are published by the DROPS 2 Global Resource Centre.

So-called Red Zones are areas which are identified to have a high risk of workers being exposed to falling objects. Per the relevant recommendations, Red Zones should be identified, mapped, and assigned an ‘Area Authority,’ which is a person responsible for the main activities in the area. Within a Red Zone, access is restricted to workers who are required to carry out the current operations being carried out in the identified area. Workers must be granted access to the Red Zone by the Area Authority, and access to Red Zones must be controlled at all times, which further requires that physical barriers and signs be put in place to delineate the area.

The implementation of exclusion zones, such as Red Zones, are a great first step towards ensuring the safety of your team when it comes to dropped and falling objects, regardless of which industry your team is operating within. But barricades, signs, and verbal access controls can only go so far, and it’s clear from the statistics that dangerous proximity to moving objects remains a serious threat to the safety of workers despite the presence of physical barriers.

That’s why it’s crucial for teams to examine their approach in this area and consider a solution that makes monitoring and managing exclusion zones easier, faster, and more effective.

Creating safer working environments with dropped object exclusion zones

Sophisticated proximity detection technology is the most reliable way to ensure that your workers don’t come into contact with dangerous hazards, including dropped or falling objects. 

With a modern solution, it’s possible to achieve an unprecedented amount of control over your risk environment. Exclusion zones can be easily and quickly configured on site, and the size and duration of the exclusion zone can be tailored to meet the unique demands of the risk location.

Access to the exclusion zone can be granted, restricted, or amended in moments, making it possible for teams to work more safely without slowing down. Workers are clearly alerted when they’re nearing an exclusion zone, and breaches are identified in real-time.

And with powerful analytics, teams have near-immediate access to data about near-misses, breaches, and more. Duty Holders and Safety Managers can easily access clear insight about their team’s activities and make swift, confident decisions about how to best refine their ways of working to ensure that employees are best protected from falling objects.

R-Link is cutting-edge proximity detection technology that’s trusted by teams around the world to keep their workers’ safe from dangerous workplace hazards. Powered by an ultra-secure, cloud-based Analytics platform, R-Link seamlessly transforms data about your risk environment into actionable insight that’s easy and safe to access, understand, and use.

By combining best practices or industry-specific recommendations, such as Red Zones, with cutting edge proximity detection technology, your team will be in the best position to protect the health and safety of your workforce with regard to dropped and falling objects. 

To learn more about Reactec’s industry-leading proximity detection technology, you can visit this web page, where you’ll find videos, case studies, and in-depth articles.

1. Moving objects include falling and dropped objects. https://www.hse.gov.uk/statist...
2. “Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme” https://dropsonline.org/resour...

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