As we’ve covered previously on our blog, there aren’t any laws enforcing the usage of tool tethering on the job site. 


Many common-sense laws, such as seatbelts, help protect us from injuries sustained in car accidents. So, while one might assume that a law exists for tool tethering to prevent tool drop-related accidents, there isn’t a law currently. 


The question is, if a law doesn’t exist, what are the consequences of not using tool tethering? 


Let’s dive into three of the most significant consequences of neglecting to tether your tools.

Injuries (And In Some Cases, Fatalities)

The first and most obvious consequence of leaving your tools unsecured involves severe injury and even death. 


When working at height, any object can become a hazard if you’re up high enough. At just 30 feet in the air, dropping a small adjustable wrench can lead to a necessary injury report. This makes tool tethering even more of a crucial component of job site safety. 


Despite what you may think about your ability to maintain a firm grip on tools, several conditions can make hanging onto a tool more difficult. Some of these include:

  • Prolonged work periods
  • Stress
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Fatigue
  • PPE interference 

In 2019, The US Bureau of Labor recorded 241 fatalities caused by falling objects or tools. If proper tool tethering and additional secondary drop prevention measures were used, there’s a good chance that many of these incidents wouldn’t have occurred. 


Equipment Damages

Other workers aren’t the only potential victim of dropped tools. A tool dropped from high enough could cause significant damage to any equipment below. 

Construction site with crane and building


Depending on the equipment damaged, this could mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the drain. All of which could be completely avoided with an effective tool tethering procedure. 


There’s also the tool itself to think about. Even if the tool dropped isn’t worth a fortune, it’s still a hindrance to replace a damaged tool caused by a drop from a height. Again, spending a couple of minutes setting up a tool tethering procedure would prevent this scenario entirely. 


Penalties From OSHA (Or Other Safety Governing Bodies)

While there aren’t any true legal ramifications for not tethering your tools, you could still face penalties from OSHA for operating an unsafe workplace. 


These penalties could range from a short shutdown to remedy the issue to an extended job site shutdown. Not only could this potentially cost thousands of dollars, but it also affects those who are paying for the project. A shutdown on a job site for a building, for example, delays the occupancy time for the owners. Which is not a great look for a construction company’s reputation. 


A proper tool tethering system in place means that you’ll avoid penalties from potential safety checks and avoid the costs associated with them. 



The fact is that a proper tool tethering procedure doesn’t take up much of your time. It won’t slow you down on the job site. 


Conversely, it will often have the opposite effect. 


So why not tether your tools and avoid all of the above consequences?


When tool tethering procedures aren’t used on the job site, not only could you face penalties and high costs, but you could also be looking at injuries and even fatalities. 


Before your next project, make sure you have a tool tethering system in place. Your workers will thank you for it. 


Looking For More Information? 

The Tanner team is always happy to answer any questions, whether they’re about tool tethering or simply general job site safety questions. Reach out to us. We’re here to help.


We also wrote The Complete Guide to Building a Work at Heights Safety Program, and you can download it for free at this link:

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