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Falling Objects

Hazard, Risk and Remedy information herein adapted from Safe Work Australia material. Definition of Falling Objects herein may not represent a legal definition.

Objects have the potential to fall onto or hit people at the workplace or adjoining areas if precautions aren’t taken. Adjoining areas may include a public footpath, road, square or the yard of a dwelling or other building beside a workplace. Equipment, material, tools and debris that can fall or be released sideways or upwards are also considered falling objects. A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must manage risks to health and safety associated with an object falling on a person if the falling object is reasonably likely to injure the person.

Risk

Falling objects that aren’t controlled for contain many risks, these include but aren’t limited to; being struck by a falling object such as roof scaffolding, tools, rock, soil, bricks, fixtures including pictures, ceiling panels, unsecured white-boards and materials from over-stacked shelving. Other risks include objects falling from lifting machinery, objects ejected while using machinery or hand tools and the collapse of unstable structures such as shelves, benches and mezzanine floors not strong enough to bear the weight of objects kept on them. If the nature of work involving potential falling objects includes ‘high risk’ work or ‘high risk construction’ work additional responsibilities such as the provision of licenses and ‘safe work method statements’ (SWMS) may be required prior to activities taking place.

Remedy

There are materials available that can assist mitigating risks involving falling objects in the tools section. A targeted hazard identification and risk management process should be followed. The hierarchy of controls as outlined in the Code of Practice on Managing Work Health and Safety Risks found in the tools section demonstrate what these controls are. Some risk management strategies include the single use, or combination of the following measures;

  • Providing a secure barrier or system that prevents the fall of an object
  • Providing a safe means of raising and lowering plant containing material and debris
  • Providing an exclusion zone prohibiting persons from entering dangerous areas
  • The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Resources

Information SourceContents
Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety
Safe Work Australia – Falling Objects Fact SheetRisk management strategy for managing risks associated with plant in the workplace
Code of Practice - Construction WorkRisk management strategy tailored to construction activities
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011, regulation 55 - Minimising risk associated with falling objectsCommonwealth regulatory information relating to managing risk associated with falling objects
UK Health & Safety Executive - Struck by somethingGeneral information on managing risks of falling objects

Notifications

Information sourceWhat it contains
Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act
Page last updated: 05 May 2017