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Preventive and Mitigating Barriers (Controls)

Barriers are functions and measures designed to break a specified undesirable chain of events. In other words, their function is to prevent a hazard, such as a dropped object, from manifesting itself or to mitigate the consequences by breaking an undesirable chain of events.

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These are barriers to prevent dropped objects. they need them all to be synchronised for our barriers to function.

Mitigating Controls for Risk Management

In managing dropped object risk, we first identify and ensure that our preventive barriers are in place. These will reduce the likelihood that an incident will occur. Where we consider the risk that these preventive barriers will fail, we put mitigating barriers in place to reduce the likelihood that an incident will reach its full potential.

Detailled description of the barriers

Independent Surveys and Inspections

Independent Surveys are typically carried out annually and are expected to identify all potential dropped object hazards and, where possible, assist with the removal of any unnecessary or redundant equipment.

The Independent Survey Specialist will provide a Survey Report, presented by areas and zones. Failed Items are reported to the asset management team. An Inspection Book, based on the Survey is then presented to the asset team for their daily, weekly and periodic inspections.

Inspection programmes should cover the entire Facility / Installation and inspection periods must be determined based on likelihood and potential consequence of dropped objects.

Inspection Books are regularly updated to reflect any changes in equipment and conditions. Third Party and temporary equipment should also be incorporated within the system.

Securing of Tools and Equipment

This part is descriped here 

Collision Checklists

A Collision Checklist should be developed and available at each Equipment Control Station. Before starting a task where equipment will be moved, the equipment operator must review the appropriate Collision Checklist for obstructions that may result in a dynamic dropped object.

For example, a Crane Operator’s Collision Checklist would include any equipment that the boom could collide with during a lifting operation.

Dropped Object Awareness

All personnel should demonstrate a basic understanding of dropped object hazards and the need to comply with all dropped object prevention policies and processes. Training, familiarisation and on-the-job coaching is key to achieving this.

These are the key objectives of a dropped object awareness programme:

  • Identifying and assessing potential hazards, their causes and consequences (observation and reporting)
  • Understanding the methods for control and prevention (task risk assessment)
  • Recognising personal responsibilities (compliance, intervention and improvement).

Further training in use of Tools at Height systems, Working at Height, selection and application of safety securing devices and other methods should be made available as appropriate.

Personal Protective Equipment

Standard workplace PPE offers limited protection against falling objects. Ensure that all equipment is appropriate for the task and certified for use.

Anyone using personal protective equipment against falls from heights must have documented training.


Items that are not in use or not in service are often excluded from established inspection and maintenance procedures and present considerable risk potential. Tools and equipment, redundant machinery, scaffolding components and other loose materials left from previous works regularly feature in dropped object reports.

Before work starts and when the work is complete, a full check must be carried out to ensure that no loose material or equipment has been left, especially at height.

Time Out For Safety

There are many variations on the theme, but the principle is always the same. Everyone has the authority to stop work – but we don’t have to wait for an unsafe act or condition to arise before we do. Take Time Out to discuss potential dropped objects at the worksite.

Share experiences and learn from recent alerts and incidents – use this knowledge during task risk assessments. Discuss changes in the environment and how they might affect equipment and structures around you. Plan your Time Out sessions around your task, providing opportunities to review hazards and check that controls are still in place.

Secondary/safety securing systems

Wherever possible, equipment installed at height shall have integrated secondary retention. Where this is not possible, or where such equipment is exposed to a risk of collision the equipment must have additional secondary or safety securing in the form of wires or chains and connectors that are securely attached to the main structure

Safety Meeting and Audits

DROPS encourages regular dropped object management meetings to be held at worksites to discuss observations, incidents, survey and inspection reports, recent industry alerts and any improvements that could be made in dropped object prevention performance.

Focal Points and Subject Matter Experts can be assigned to engage with personnel, ensuring preventive measures are functioning and that Third Party or temporary equipment has been considered and included.

Worksite Dropped Object Prevention Committees or Working Groups may be established to regularly discuss performance, incident reports, lessons learned, best practice and new techniques or tools available on the market. DROPS recommend that all service partners are included in such groups.

Restricted Acces Areas

If a potential for dropped objects has been identified during Risk Assessment, barriers must be placed to prevent unauthorised access to the work site.

Set up barriers beneath the work area and ensure the extent of the barriered zone is appropriate to the work height with consideration to the potential path that a dropped object may take (eg deflection and weather factors).

Ensure that access and egress to the barriered area is clearly marked including details of work being conducted. In the case where emergency evacuation routes are affected place signs marking another safe route.

If the potential area prevents effective use of barrier chain and signage, consider using frequent PA Warnings and standby persons preventing area access.

Ensure that you consult with your Company Policy on Barrier philosophies, procedures and work practices.

Preventive Maintenance

The primary goal of Preventive Maintenance is to preserve and restore equipment reliability by replacing worn components before they actually fail. Preventive maintenance activities include partial or complete overhauls at specified periods.

In addition, equipment deterioration can be recorded so that worn parts can be repaired or replaced before they cause system failure. The ideal preventive maintenance programme would prevent all equipment failure before it occurs.

‘Drops’ Red Zones

Areas where personnel may be exposed to dropped object hazards may be classified as DROPS RED ZONES. All personnel in this Zone must be required for the current operation and must be authorised by the Area Authority.

The Area Authority must also ensure that all personnel entering a DROPS Red Zone are aware of the hazards and ensure an appropriate plan is in place for specific operations.

All personnel working under authority within a DROPS Red Zone must have a specific responsibility during the task, understand the placement of personnel, and be aware of machinery which may be operated during the task and identify safe ‘Step Back’ zones during high risk activities such as lifting or movement of machinery above. This offers opportunities to consider reducing or even eliminating time spent in the DROPS Red Zone.

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Drops Red Zones are uique to each worksite. 
Drill Floors, Moon Pools,Pipe Laydown and many other area wehre there is a high risk for dropped objects may be designated as DROPS Red Zones
These Zones are highly visible and my include colour coded barriers, walkways and floor coverings
Note: the term ‘Red Zone’ may already be employed in working areas such as drill floors where rotating machinery is a hazard.To avoid any confusion with ‘DROPS’ Red Zones, refer to your worksite hazard management systems for further guidance.

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