Incorrectly tethered tools can lead to tether failure, tools loss, damaged equipment or property, an injury, or even the death of someone below. Gary Anderson, for example, was killed in 2014 by a falling tape measure.
Making sure tools are tethered correctly with regard to the components and weights in use is vital to the prevention of dropped objects. The ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is a voluntary consensus standard adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) after the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) created it. The standard recognizes four active means of stopping dropped objects: anchor attachments, tool attachments, tool tethers, and containers.
The ISEA also has a page of resources titled The Gravity of Dropped Objects - Resources to Prevent Dropped Objects. Due partly to the number of standards available to employers, OSHA can issue citations under the General Duty Clause for dropped object risks even if no specific OSHA dropped object standard exists. Below is a list of reminders to think about when designing a tool tethering setup or program.
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