BLH Stop DropTM barricading system offers the ultimate protection from above to protect workers and company assets over the long-term
A dropped object, no matter its size, weight, or the height it falls from, poses a safety risk on the worksite. Any inherent hazards of this nature can also have a detrimental impact on productivity, which in turn can hit an assets’ bottom line.
Whether it’s a mine, offshore oil and gas platform, refinery or power generation plant, road, rail or infrastructure project, or a food processing facility, dropped objects present a constant danger, particularly when working at heights.
Unfortunately, many companies often overlook or underestimate the damage caused by falling objects, their impact force, and the potential likelihood of death that can result.
According to Safe Work Australia’s ‘Key WHS Statistics Australia 2022’ report, a total of 169 fatalities occurred in 2021, nine per cent (16 deaths) of which were the result of workers being hit by falling objects*.
Implementing appropriate safeguards to protect your people and assets from dropped tools and equipment have therefore never been more important.
Although companies have employed various types of systems, debris nets, safety mesh, and other drop containment devices for years, the quality, reliability and longevity of these systems is questionable as many do not comply with industry or safety standards.
In industrial environments, these systems are not always designed to not only withstand a constant exposure to corrosive chemicals, salt water, high winds, flames, and UV rays, but also safely intercept or deflect falling objects.
That’s where innovative protective structures such as the Stop DropTM come into play as a practical way to manage the risks associated with dropped objects and keep workers safe.
Invented by BLH Safety over 13 years ago, the patented technology supplied into 16 countries across many industry sectors has also redefined dropped object prevention. It has since become a common installation as major companies recognise BLH Stop Drop products as best practice on the world’s largest mining, oil and gas companies, and infrastructure projects.
BLH Safety’s products have been independently tested and comply with all the required industry safety standards to meet the harshest conditions. The company are always looking for more opportunities to innovate and evolve alongside client needs in different industry sectors globally.
Safety barricades engineered to perform
BLH Safety founder and Stop Drop inventor Shane Gill, says the innovative design utilising advanced polymer technology featured in its Stop Drop safety barricadingTM system offers a new level of protection from above, and a smarter way of containing dropped objects.
“Our unique Stop Drop system is specifically designed and engineered to minimise the risk of falling objects from work areas such as platforms, scaffolding, access walkways and stairways. It is quick and easy to install and remove, and the flexible polymer material is lightweight.”
Aside from Stop Drop being the only system available in the market with a 10-year lifecycle warranty, which provides significant cost savings over the long-term, Gill explains their product offers many other competitive advantages.
“Our product is not only fully recyclable and chlorine-free, but the polymers are manufactured in a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility that meets the highest quality environmental standards, with lower emissions in the manufacturing process. It has been tested for both extreme heat/cold in one system, therefore there is no requirement for two systems like others in the market.
“The innovative snap lock and clip-on design eliminates the need for bolts or additional fasteners, plus the smaller, lighter panels streamline installation with less manual handling involved. The panels can be easily attached to any railing configurations of different sizes, thicknesses, and shapes.”
In offshore oil and gas platforms, high winds and turbulent weather conditions can wreak havoc on exposed structures.
Gill says the Stop Drop system features a higher wind rating than any other barricading system. “Our product is Cat 5 wind-rated and has a lower wind drag (Cfig rating), which is important so that it doesn’t impede the structural integrity of the asset to which the barricading is affixed.”
Stop Drop is non-heat conductive, and UV stabilised with a 10-year UV rating, and is corrosion, chemical, fire, impact and glare resistant, and can be supplied with static resistance upon request. It is also free of sharp edges, pinch points or catch points, and does not obscure line of sight or block out illumination.
“Our barricading system is a proven, cost-effective solution for both permanent and temporary installations, and many of our clients now manage installation themselves to save money,” added Gill.
“You don’t need a hot work permit as no onsite design or fabrication work is required, and the quick installation minimises downtime. Although we have dedicated technicians available to install the product, we also offer installation training to our clients so they can utilise their own personnel.”
Physics of dropped objects
People often don’t realise the impact forces that are generated when an object is dropped at height. Even with some form of protection, the result of being struck by an item of relatively low weight can be significant.
Gill highlighted that dropped objects can quickly accelerate and build-up a considerable impact force.
“As the expression goes, ‘what goes up must come down’. Dropped objects from heights are no exception to the laws of gravity. For example, a 2kg hammer dropped from a height of 5m will have an impact force of over one tonne.
“There’s also the issue of deflection when an objects vertical path is obstructed, whereby it is deflected, turning it into a dangerous projectile. For instance, an object that has fallen 37m (100ft), hitting an obstruction at 6m (20ft), can be deflected over 66m (218ft) away with a travel speed of up to 100km/h (60mph).”
Establishing a safe exclusion zone that provides sufficient distance for deflections is rarely practical, so it’s essential to deploy the correct drop prevention system before a potential impact can occur.
“Our barricade mesh and fixtures have been uniquely designed to provide shock absorption, so at the point of impact, the shock is contained and does not deflect or pass the energy through the structure it is affixed to,” says Gill.
BLH Safety’s pioneering spirit continues to this day with the company researching new and innovative ways to protect workers.
“At BLH Safety, we partner with our clients to supply a comprehensive dropped objects prevention system through design and development,” added Gill.
“We also offer Stop Drop conveyor guardingTM to safeguard machinery on conveyor systems and minimise the risk of injury for maintenance personnel. These modular polymer guards are easily installed on conveyors, plant and equipment, and sections can be removed to allow workers quick access to different workspaces to carry out their equipment maintenance.
“We also offer Stop Drop drop mattingTM that prevents dropped objects from slipping through large gaps in steel grating in walkway flooring, and also to prevent slips, trips and falls. It is a non-porous PVC, hard-wearing floor matting solution designed for use in wet and slippery conditions. It also enhances dropped object prevention and protects your flooring or walkways from damage.”
*Source: Safe Work Australia – Key WHS statistics Australia 2022