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ISEA, equipment managers developing standard for protecting workers from objects falling from height

Nate B.

Indianapolis – International Safety Equipment Association President Charles Johnson hailed the “instrumental” efforts of several leading safety equipment managers in developing ANSI/ISEA 121, a forthcoming standard on the prevention of objects dropped from heights.

The standard seeks to set minimum design, performance and labeling requirements for solutions intended to reduce industrial-related and occupational-related dropped item incidents. Two prominent contributors – Nate Bohmbach, associate product director for St. Paul, MN-based Ergodyne, and Virginia Battles, global director of sales for Manchester, NH-based Ty-Flot Inc. – discussed the standard Tuesday during the “ISEA Experts” presentation at the 2017 National Safety Council Congress & Expo. The presentation addressed the importance of preventive solutions, including tool tethering.

“Why did we start it? Because we were project managers in the nuclear field, and we were seeing things being damaged,” Battles said. “We were seeing people get hurt and, as project managers, we had to find a way to keep the nuclear plant safe.”

The speakers indicated that the standard could factor significantly into industries in which elevated work is common, such as oil and gas, construction, and shipping. Falling objects covered in the standard include hand tools, instrumentation, structural components and small parts.

Johnson and Bohmbach said they anticipate the standard will be approved and go into effect by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

“So now the review process starts,” Bohmbach said. “And the review process is kind of the question mark, right? If it goes through a private and a public review, and it’s determined that we need to adjust something major, then it’s going to take a little longer. But if it’s just kind of minor adjustments, then it might be early Q1, so our best guesstimate now would be end of Q1, which would be great timing for National Safety Stand-Down (in May 2018).”

Battles cited Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that 247 fatalities and 44,850 injuries were caused by falling objects in 2015.

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