It should be a given that tethering your tools when working at height is a crucial safety precaution.
Not only do you prevent injuries or even fatalities, but you also save yourself the cost of repairing broken tools or equipment below.
But how do you actually tether your tools? What methods are available?
There are two common methods used:
- DIY tool tether tape
- Professional tool tethering
Both are valid options, however, one is far more effective than the other. We’ll talk about both methods and highlight their strengths and weaknesses to ensure that you’re properly informed.
DIY Tool Tether Tape
Let’s start with some facts about DIY tool tether tape. This is a common method used for tethering tools on the job site, but is it actually efficient and effective?
It’s better than nothing
Obviously, when you’re working at height, any sort of tether is better than no tether at all. If tool tether tape manages to prevent even one drop resulting in an injury or fatality, that’s a win.
Just because it’s better than nothing, doesn’t mean that other methods shouldn’t be considered, though. Sometimes, more DIY methods of tool tethering can actually be a hindrance rather than beneficial if it interferes with other equipment or a worker’s ability to do their job effectively.
It can be cheaper
Now, when we’re talking about upfront costs, DIY tool tether tape is likely a cheaper alternative to professional tool tethering methods. This short-sightedness is what makes it a common method used for tool tethering.
But what about long-term costs?
Using untested or unconventional tool tethering methods can end up costing more in the long run if it ends up not working correctly. There are several different scenarios that lead to increased costs, such as:
- Injury liability
- Damaged tools
- Damaged equipment
- Damage to property
While it may seem attractive to go with the more upfront cost-effective solution, this short-sightedness could end up costing you far more than you’d ever need to spend on a professional tool tethering solution.
It meets regulations
OSHA regulations dictate that all equipment must be tethered when working at height. Let’s face it. Using a DIY tool tether tape method may meet OSHA regulations, but is inferior to professionally tethered tools.
This goes back to the first point about it being better than nothing. It’s great that you won’t receive any penalties from OSHA, but are you really protecting your workers as much as you can? DIY tool tethering can still lead to serious injuries and costly mistakes, even if it does meet OSHA regulations.
Professional Tool Tethering
Now, what about the alternative? Tanner's series of lanyard-ready power tools and hand tools come with their own set of advantages over DIY tool tether tape that need to be considered when deciding which tethering route to take.
Tried and tested product
With professional tool tethering over DIY tool tether tape, you’re getting a professionally engineered and tested product. This means that not only are you able to rest assured that your tools are safe and secure, but this method of tethering also won’t become a hindrance to your ability to do your job safely and efficiently.
Compared to DIY methods, the testing done with professional tool tethering can mean the difference between a safe job site and one with injury reports piling up quickly.
Tools are built tether-ready
DIY tool tether tape involves creating a makeshift tether system yourself. Because this method is untested, it can severely compromise job site safety if it happens to fail at any point.
With professional tool tethering, this process is done for you. No need to wrestle with tape and potentially waste time creating a tether system that may or may not even work properly.
Potential long-term cost savings
As we’ve mentioned above, DIY methods of tool tethering are often unreliable. While they might be cheaper upfront, potential injuries and broken tools or equipment can make the investment into professional tool tethering far more appealing.
At the end of the day, professional tool tethering will always be a better option than DIY tool tether tape.
It’s true that any sort of tethering is better than nothing and will meet regulations, but the safety risk is still there. Not to mention the unruly costs associated with injuries and broken tools.
Professional tool tethering is a tested method designed to prevent these scenarios from happening. While there might be more of an upfront investment, trust us when we tell you: It’s worth saving yourself from the nightmare of a dropped tool causing serious injury.
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.