Understanding Dropped Objects

Dropped Objects continue to account for the majority of actual and potentially fatal incidents in the upstream oil and gas industry. In fact, dropped objects (also known as falling items and material fall) are among the Top 3 Causes of death and serious injury across many industrial sectors. The same statistics apply to leisure activities and home life too.

Concerted campaigns and directives have resulted in better performance within activities such as Drilling and Well Services, but the overall trend shows little sign of improvement

What is a Dropped Object?
Any item or object that falls or has the potential to fall from its previous position. Unnecessary items, loose items, unsecured items, poorly stacked items, pieces of structure; even entire structures can fall.

Static Dropped Object
Any object that falls from its previous position under its own weight (gravity) without any applied force. For example failure caused by corrosion, vibration or inadequate securing.

Dynamic Dropped Object
Any object that falls from its previous position due to applied force. For example collisions involving travelling equipment or loads, snagging on machinery or stacked items, motion, helicopter downdraft or severe weather.

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LekkerBouwen (1)

What Causes Dropped Objects?
A host of factors can contribute to a dropped object incident. It is important to consider these during worksite hazard identification. Energy sources such as gravity, wind, heave and mechanical motion can all contrive to initiate a sequence of events that result in something falling. Add corrosion, lack of awareness and inadequate inspection or maintenance and you can almost guarantee a dropped object will occur.

Statistics show that around 30% of all dropped object incidents are related to design, technical or mechanical issues but almost half can be attributed to human factors. (Source DORIS)

What should we do about it?
We cannot simply accept that dropped objects are an inherent hazard of our working environment. A system must be put in place to identify and prevent, and where reasonably practicable, manage the risks associated with dropped objects.

The top 10 causes of dropped objects


Safety alerts and incident reports show these recurring themes continue to result in dropped objects

  1. Inadequate Risk Assessment
    (failure to identify dropped object hazards)
  2. Human factors
    (operator error, poor behaviour, complacency, neglect)
  3. Inadequate Procedures
    (bad planning, no management of change)
  4. Failed Fixtures and Fittings
    (corrosion, vibration, poor design, selection or improper installation)
  5. Poor housekeeping
    (Pre-existing hazards from previous tasks)
  6. Collisions and Snagging
    (lifting, travelling equipment, tag lines, service loops)
  7. Inadequate inspection, Repar and Maintenance
    (ignoring unsafe conditions)
  8. Redundant, Neglected and Home-made Tools and Equipment
    (should be eliminated)
  9. Inadequately Stored or Secured Tools and Equipment
    (no lanyards or thehters being used)
  10. Environmental Factors
    (wind, sea motion, ice, snow, rain,extreme conditions)


Our products are specialized in the prevention of dropped objects for example the Dropped Object Prevention Mat. There are many ways to prevent or reduce the risk of objects falling. Safe Work Practices to Prevent Dropped Object Incidents … Eliminate the hazard: Remove objects and tools from higher levels, scaffolding, or aerial lifts.

Prevent dropped objects