“Is Dropped Objects Protection a Necessity or a Luxury? Insights and Solutions from the Heavy Construction Industry for the Construction Industry”

Picture: project port of Rotterdam [Westmark BV]

OSHA’s Guidelines on Working at Heights and Preventing Dropped Objects

OSHA quote: https://www.osha.gov/fall-protection#:~:text=OSHA%20requires%20that%20fall%20protection,eight%20feet%20in%20longshoring%20operations.

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

How to Prevent Dropped Objects and Create a Safe Work Environment: Industry Solutions from the Heavy Industry.

Dropping objects is a common occurrence in the workplace, especially when working at heights, but it poses a significant safety risk to employees. To comply with OSHA regulations and prevent injuries or fatalities, the heavy industry has implemented several measures to prevent dropping objects.

One effective solution is to implement toe boards around grating maintenance areas. Toe boards act as a small barrier along the edge of walkways and working areas, preventing tools and other items from accidentally falling off and creating a safety risk. Most common railing structures already have a toe board feature in their design, but it becomes critical during maintenance work or large shut-downs involving many contractors.

Temporary toe boards can also be installed during maintenance work or shut-downs, and they can stay in place until the installation is taken out of commission. By implementing these safety measures, the heavy industry has significantly reduced the risk of dropping objects and created a safer work environment for employees.


Picture: simple to install temporary toe board [www.cablesafe.com] https://cablesafe.com/dropped-objects-prevention/toe-board-protective-barrier/

Protecting Railing Structures to Prevent Dropped Objects: Compliance with OSHA Regulations.

To prevent objects from falling below industrial or technical floors while working at heights, high-quality boarding or siding material can be used to protect the railing structures. OSHA regulations require worker protection at different heights depending on the industry, such as 4 feet in normal industry workplaces, 5 feet at shipyards, 6 feet in the construction industry, and 8 feet in the maritime and offshore industries.

However, even at a height of 6 feet, dropping objects can still pose a significant hazard in the workplace. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify potential risk spots for dropping items and implement measures to protect against these safety risks. This can include using netting, siding, or boarding to assist in protecting against dropping objects, both as a temporary or permanent industrial solution.

By taking a close look at your plant or site and considering these safety measures, you can help your co-workers stay safe and comply with OSHA regulations.


Picture: Example dropped objects prevention guard net [www.cablesafe.com]

Safeguarding Workers at Height: Simple and Effective Measures for Workplace Safety.

When employees are performing maintenance or installation work at height, it’s crucial to take actions to protect not only the workers but also those below them. Inspection and proofing of the work spot are critical to ensure workplace safety.

To improve safety, simple and effective measures can be implemented, such as physical barriers like temporary toe boards, guard nets, and work mats. Training to prevent dropping objects is also essential. Providing options for working with fall arrest equipment and lanyard tools can further enhance safety.

Inspection and maintenance work should always go hand-in-hand with clear safety instructions to ensure that workers are aware of potential hazards and the necessary safety measures. By implementing these measures and providing proper training and instructions, you can safeguard workers at height and improve workplace safety for all.


Picture: Example dropped object prevention panel guard net [www.preventdrops.com]

Prioritizing Safety in Construction and Maintenance Work: The Importance of Toolbox Talks.

Construction and maintenance work should always begin with safety toolbox talks, which are short discussions about safety before work starts. These talks focus on lessons learned from near misses and accidents and implementing new ways to stay safe. By consistently having these discussions, you can keep improving safety on your site and in the industry as a whole.

One important aspect of these talks is prioritizing and preventing high-risk hazards, such as dropped objects, slips, trips, and falls. Investing in safety measures to prevent these risks is essential to keeping your employees and contractors safe while they work.

By making safety a top priority and consistently having safety toolbox talks, you can create a safer work environment and help prevent accidents and injuries.

Creating a Safe Work Environment for Elevated Maintenance and Installation Work.

When performing work on elevated gratings, catwalks, and platforms, preventing dropped objects is crucial. Loose objects such as nuts, bolts, and screws cannot always be tethered, and if dropped, they can cause equipment damage or even fatalities.

To address this issue, installation or maintenance crews can use suitable work mats to hold their tools and equipment while performing their work. Loose tools can be tethered to prevent dropping, and by using these mats, a temporary safe work environment for tools and work equipment can be created.

Implementing this simple measure can help prevent accidents and injuries and ensure a safer work environment for everyone involved in elevated maintenance and installation work.


Picture: example dropped objects prevention work mat to prevent dropped objects [www.preventdrops.com]

Enhancing Dropped Object Prevention with Specialized Work Mats.

Standard work mats are an effective tool in preventing dropped objects, but depending on the type of work being performed, specialized materials may be needed. For instance, flame retardant and weld protection fabrics can be used when working with hot equipment.

To keep work mats in place when working at windy heights or on elevated gratings, magnets or spanners can be utilized. These mats are also reusable and easy to handle, making them a practical and cost-effective solution for dropped object prevention.

By using specialized work mats and securing them in place, workers can minimize the risk of dropped objects and ensure a safer work environment for themselves and those around them.

Request your dropped object prevention equipment here: cs@westmarkbv.com

Instructions for measuring dropped object prevention guard net

Provide Westmark BV customer service your dimensions and Westmark will provide a quote.

Do-it-yourself instructions measurement: dropped object prevention guard net:

  1. Always measure the inside of your railing structure.
  2. When measuring with multiple floors/decks create a deck plan with ID-tag location of the nets, this ID tag is mounted on the net and will help you trace the various nets to their mounting locations onsite. E.g. Floor 1 / A01; Floor 1 / A02; Floor 2 / B01; Floor 1 / B02, etc.
    Floor 2 / A01; Floor 2 / A02; Floor 2 / B01; Floor 2 / B02, etc.

or: Reactor 1 – Floor 15 – South railing structure: R1-FL15-01-S

  1. Dropped object prevention guard nets need tensioning to stay in place. Take measurements from the inside of the frame (or railing). Leave some space with measuring (half an inch or few centimeter) around the net to tighten the nets to installation structure or railing.
  2. Take pictures and/or make a sketches of the guard net locations with its dimensions. Make a drawing of the ideal net situation and provide measurements to get a detailed quote.
  3. When planning an incision in the guard net (e.g. pipe in way or structure overlapping); note down the diameter of the pipe, and note the reference point (also center point) on the sketch of the net.


Guard Net ID location:

Reactor # – Floor # – net # geographic (N/W/S/E)

Width – Inches   (horizontal)

Height – Inches (vertical)

SKETCH included




R1-FL01-01 (S)




File: R1-FL018-01S


R1-FL15-02 (W)











Table: example for registration inside structure measurements

If you have questions contact customer service: cs@westmarkbv.com

Dropped Objects Prevention

Toe Board Protective Barrier

Dropped Objects Prevention

Dropped Objects Prevention Guard Net

Dropped Objects Prevention

Dropped Objects Prevention Work Mat

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