Proper tool tethering likely isn’t the first thing on the minds of busy workers on job sites. 


Maybe they know all about what could happen if a tool is dropped from a height. They might even be aware of when they should be tethering their tools


Despite this knowledge, the fact remains that dropped tools are still a considerable problem. 

You might be asking yourself: Because of the injuries and fatalities associated with dropped tools, is there a law requiring tools to be tethered when working at height? 


Thankfully, we’re here to not only answer this question but provide some additional insight to help you understand the importance of tool tethering. 

There Isn’t a “Law”, but Working at Heights Safety Is Carefully Regulated

When talking about the legality of having your tools tethered, the short answer is that there isn’t a specific law requiring the practice. 


However, there’s a little more to it than that. 


Tethering your tools is one aspect of preventing dropped tools and working at heights safely. While there’s no law forcing companies to employ a working at heights safety program, it is carefully regulated by various organizations whose job is to ensure that job sites are operating safely. 


The ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 Dropped Object Prevention Solution, for example, is a standard designed around systems used to prevent tools or any other objects from becoming a hazard when dropped. 


Effective tool tethering is one of the biggest parts of this solution. 


Additionally, OSHA can issue penalties on job sites where working at heights safety isn’t taken seriously and near-misses or injuries have become more frequent. The law isn’t specific to tethering tools, but companies can be liable for operating under unsafe conditions. Considering a small tool under a pound can become fatal when dropped from 90 feet or above, a company’s refusal to tether these tools could easily be viewed as unsafe. 

Even Without Specific Laws, Tool Tethering is Crucial to Job Site Safety

The fact that there aren’t any specific laws to enforce the implementation of tool tethering doesn’t change the hazards associated with dropped tools. Effective tool tethering procedures prevent several negative job site scenarios, including:

  • Injuries
  • Damaged tools
  • Damaging equipment below
  • Death, in more extreme cases 

So, why wouldn’t you tether your tools? You shouldn’t need a law to tell you to. It should be a normal practice on every job site. 


Construction of a modern building and a skyscraper


It’s not like tool tethering needs to be viewed in a bad light either. Tool tethering won’t slow you down or create additional tripping hazards when done effectively. Sure, improper DIY tool tethering could create problems, but tried and tested professional tool tethering won’t be a hindrance. 


Considering the serious threat posed by dropped tools, a case could be made for creating laws enforcing tool tethering requirements.


However, for now, companies are not legally required to use tool tethers. Although they could face penalties from OSHA for failing to create a safe work environment. 


At the end of the day, we believe that it isn’t a matter of whether or not it’s legal to operate without tool tethering. It’s about the potential injuries and deaths that could be prevented with it. 

Looking for More Information on Tool Tethering?

At Tanner, we strive to provide our customers with not only the best tool tethering products but also the information needed to operate safely and efficiently. If you need more info on tool tethering, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


If you're looking for tips to build a work at heights safety program for your job site, check out our free guide to creating a safety plan.

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