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ANSI Launches Tool Tethering Standard:

What You Need to Know to Get Your Team Onboard

Anyone who has set foot on a high-rise construction site, worked atop a roof or from scaffolding knows, falling objects are a serious threat to safety. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an astonishing 52,000 Americans are injured by falling objects in the US alone EVERY YEAR. Even more alarming is the approximately 250 deaths caused by falling objects annually, accounting for 5% of all workplace fatalities.

In July of 2018, ANSI announced it would adopt the ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association) standard 121-2018 as the 1st step in addressing the problem. As it’s formally know, American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions, this ground-breaking standard sets industry best practices for tethering tools when working at height to reduce workplace accidents, injuries and deaths from falling objects.

Since the launch, there ANSI/ISEA 121 committee members like those of us at KEY-BAK PRO have seen the groundswell of enthusiasm about such an important safety standard, yet there are still obstacles preventing many safety professionals from launching their own tool tethering program. One of the biggest hurtles safety managers must clear is getting their crews to use tethers in the 1st place. Even when it has become company policy to use tool tethers at the leading edge, or when working at height, many workers will refuse. Typically, they liken tethers to octopus tentacles hanging from their belts that want to grab everything, slow them down or get in the way. One team leader even said he refused to allow his people to wear tool tethers because they get caught on ladders and scaffolding and were even more dangerous to the worker wearing the tether, than the people below they were meant to protect.

It is wise to listen to people who use tools for a living. They know better than most the dangers and challenges they face every day when working at height. Therefore, if the industry is going to continue to work safer, companies will need to standardize on tethers that provide safety for the people below AND the worker using the tool without affecting their ability to get the job done. One way that has been proven to accomplish both objectives is to use retractable tool tethers. Retractors keep the tether from catching on objects, ladders or scaffolding when the tool is stuck in the tool belt or otherwise not in use.   They won’t tangle on other tools or pull them out by accident allowing the worker to be safer without affecting performance.

Download the START Work fundamentals to learn more about how to deploy a tool tethering program where you work or access more from on DOP Connect.

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Want To See The Difference?

Watch this short video comparing traditional tethers to retractors.

Tether Your Tools