There are a lot of challenges and dangers while working at height. Employees working at height use tools and equipment that can range from lightweight tools to heavier equipment such as drilling machines. Consequently, the only safety concern is not for workers, but also for the tools they use to carry out their work at height. The higher the height, the greater the impact of the dropping tool/ equipment on those below it, or the damage to the tool itself. A dropped object, as it gathers momentum from a fall, can strike a person with tremendous force. Workers can suffer from small bruises, strains, and sprains when hit by falling objects, along with serious injuries such as fractures, concussions, psychological trauma, or other death-causing injuries.
To avoid such occurrences, tool tethering may be used, which includes connecting tools to either the operator or to a fixed anchor point in the case of heavier tools. Tool tethers have been around for quite a long time but were formerly known as tool lanyards. To avoid confusion between tool drop prevention equipment and shock-absorbing lanyards, the industry has adopted the term tool tethers. Three components of a standard tool tethering system would be:
- Tether point – The primary safety point is on the tool itself known as tether point. While most tools do not have a secure and reliable location for a tool lanyard, tether points are attachments that can be retrofitted without causing harm to any tool, invalidating the tool’s warranty, or hindering its efficiency. To preserve the structural integrity of the tether, having a stable tether point is necessary.
- Tool lanyard – The mid-point of the tool tethering system is the tool tether lanyards which connects the tether to the anchor. Various types of tool lanyards safety materials like webbing, wire, or non-conductive are available for different kinds of equipment, tasks, and environments. Bungee, coiled or retractable tool lanyard designs are also available to choose from as per the requirement. Tools lanyards working height varies according to different tasks, it is best to have many types and lengths of lanyards so that tools can be used in different situations without any difficulty. Keep the lanyard lightweight and comfortable to ease the worker’s job. Always check whether the load capacity of the lanyard is adequate for the tool.
- Anchor point – The anchor point must be as reliable and strong as the rest of the system. Lighter tools can be protected with a wristband, a work belt or a harness worn by the worker. Heavier items should be attached to a sturdy, fixed point, such as a load rated rail or beam.