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Aiming for a Zero-Drop Policy


Fall protection for tools for a safer work environment

Protecting your workers on the job should be a top priority, but they are not the only ones who risk injury on a daily basis: those walking and working near your worksite are also in danger. Currently, there are over 8,881 recorded incidents of people being struck by falling objects every year in Canada, which is equivalent to an average of 24 instances per day during the work year.

How can this statistic be lowered? By taking proper preventive measures and implementing a dropped object plan on each and every worksite.

Managing risk rather than results

Fall protection for tools is not a new concern; it has been an important topic in the industry for over 100 years. At the turn of the 20th century, the New York Times published an article about dropped objects, in which it described placards posted on a bridge to caution iron workers to handle tools with care in order to avoid dropping them into the river. Still today, the most common strategy is to use signage to warn workers and passersby of the potential dangers that might occur when approaching a certain area.

The issue? Putting up warning signs, wearing hard hats, or using plywood boards to protect the sidewalk below might seem like an effective strategy, but it does not work 100% of the time. Why not? First, when objects fall, their trajectory isn’t always predictable. However, the main reason these measures lack effectiveness is that they focus on protecting people and surfaces from dropped objects, rather than addressing the source of the problem. Striving to reduce the number of dropped objects is key to truly eliminating the issue at its source.

The solution: dropped object prevention plans

More and more contractors and workplaces are adopting dropped object plans which include tool/object-tethering processes to ensure the safety of their worksites. General consensus indicates that within the next few years, legislation requiring the implementation of dropped object plans are expected to pass for the industry. Why not be one step ahead and take the proper preventative measures now?

You can help reduce the risk by formalizing and implementing a dropped object plan. This plan would require workers to tether their tools in accordance with the dropped object plan. In recent years, there has been a veritable rise in technology where working at heights is concerned. From small pouches intended for storing nuts and bolts, and tethers designed specifically for hand and power tools, to safe buckets, adjustable radio holsters, and hard hat coil tethers, there are various intelligently engineered accessories that can help improve the level of safety on your worksite. In fact, over 90 percent of tools used on industry sites can be tethered using attachment points—a proven system for tools, equipment and objects weighing up to 80 pounds. Not only can the use of tool tethering solutions help prevent accidents on the worksite; but they may also help reduce the cost of asset or equipment replacement.

A safer environment within your reach

As an industry leader in fall protection, 3M has leveraged its technology used in protecting the body to create product solutions that are built for all industries and designed ergonomically for workers to protect objects, tools and equipment. The solutions are thoroughly tested, effective and easy to use.

The goal? To help you create a safer work environment. But this requires putting processes into place and choosing the right tethering plan for your specific needs: 3M can assist you in creating and implementing a dropped object plan tailored to your specific site and project needs. Defy gravity and strive for zero drops with a drop prevention plan.


(1)Caldwell, M. (2016). The Sky Isn’t Falling (And Your Tools Shouldn’t Either). EHS Today. Retrieved from on September 21, 2016.

(2)Gravity defied. 3M Science. Applied to Life. DBI SALA, Fall Protection For Tools. (2016). Retrieved from AWCBC Online Community - NWISP Report (Data 2011- 2013)

(3)Gravity defied. 3M Science. Applied to Life. DBI SALA, Fall Protection For Tools. (2016). Retrieved from VOC, Industry Knowledge Tools up to 80lbs.

All statements, technical information and recommendations contained herein are based on data we believe to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness thereof is not guaranteed. There is no representation, warranty, guarantee or other obligation of 3M or its employees arising out of this presentation. Please refer to specific products packaging, user instructions and related documents for complete details. 3M shall not be liable for any loss and/or damage, whether direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential arising out of the sale, use or misuse of 3M Personal Safety products or the user's inability to use such product.

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