Why Tether Tools

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Why do I need to tether my tools? is an increasingly common question we are asked by clients ranging from local tradesmen to global blue chip corporations with operations spanning the globe.

Amazingly, for a sector so heavily regulated in many other ways with the legal requirements around human fall-arrest for example, the systematic tethering and securing of hand tools has traditionally been regarded as sufficiently covered though mechanisms such as exclusion zones and other ‘damage limitation’ practices.

Recently however, it is, or is becoming a legal requirement in many countries around the world to eliminate rather than manage dropped tools. Why?

1. Danger to life, equipment, reputation

When dropped, tools do not fall straight down into exclusion zones but can be blown, bounce and ricochet significant and unpredictable horizontal distances. The following sequence shows the scale of the danger zone under an operative working on a mobile mast. Image Source: Balfour Beatty training video

A spanner is dropped…

The red circle shows its descent…

…and the significant danger zone.

2. Regulation

The legal context has also changed in many developed countries. In the UK, specific HSE directives (the ‘Work At Height Regulations 2005’) now state that, when working at height, dropped tools must be eliminated as far as is practical. It is no longer sufficient to merely manage or limit injury.

This has been reflected in other countries such as Australia with Regulation 54 of the ‘Work Health and Safety Regulations’ 2011.

Regulation 54 of the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 states:

“A person conducting a business or undertaking must manage risks to health and safety associated with an object falling on a person if the falling object is reasonably likely to injure the person….”

… and Safe Work Australia specifically requires that the risk of dropped objects must be eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable. If elimination is not reasonably practicable, the risk must be minimised.

To underpin this regulatory framework, there are now fines and potential jail sentences for both individuals and managers of corporate bodies who fail to implement dropped tool prevention policies and equipment. In short, safety is now everyone’s responsibility and that is embedded in law.

3. Financial

A dropped tool can cause:

  • Severe equipment damage (not just the dropped tool but everything it hits on the way down).
  • Costly downtime / project overruns.
  • Litigation from death or serious injury of colleagues and co-workers.
  • Reputational damage of both contractor and client.

Why can’t I use my own tethers?

Possibly the single biggest issue is not the lack of a tool tether but the prevalence of so called ‘self-tethering’ (normally with rope or unsuitable key rings or tape).
This is perfectly legal but is in itself is a major cause of incident as such solutions are not replicable with any degree of standardisation nor certifiable and have no mechanism for traceability or inspection. These are just three of the types of self tethering that widely continue to be in use:

A few statistics

Did you know that work at height is defined as anywhere ‘a person could be injured falling from it’ – this includes work at or below ground level.

A 1lb (450gram) tool dropped just 10 feet would hit you with a mass equivalent to 21 stone (135 kg) in under 1 second!

Fatalities in most developed countries have reached c.20% and are likely to be the 2nd highest cause of all work related deaths in recent years.

In the UK, ‘being struck by falling objects’ was the highest cause of fatalities in the workplace (21 deaths) in 2011-2012, according to the HSE. It also contributed to 10% or 2,347 non-fatal but major workplace injuries in the same time period.

It’s not just the UK – between 2010-2011, Australia reported dropped objects as being the most common cause of workplace fatalities (26 of the 138 deaths reported).

According to the US Department For Labor, dropped objects sadly accounted for 233 largely preventable deaths last year.

That’s nearly 300 deaths per year in just 3 countries that could be eliminated with standardised and enforced tool and equipment tethering when working at height..

Until now, there has been no effective, certified and globally consistent method of tethering tools safely.

A certified tether is just the start! Once Tool@rrested, tools can be securely attached to a lanyard and then to a suitable anchor point (including the operators tool belt or harness). See how our complete system solutions could help your business.



Until now, there’s been no widely available, certified and statistically fail-safe technology to tether and secure your existing tools for use at height. The only option was expensive, specialist tools or non-certified, untested ‘self-tethering’ methods.


Carefully constructed tool kits, complete with certified Tool@rrest tethers and lanyards provide a fully secure, tested and assured system, protecting workers at height and colleagues below from dropped tools.


Premium general and specialist hand tools for industrial use at height, specifically designed with our iconic independently tested Tool@rrest tether. A central part of any safety system for safe work at height.


Our range of tool, wrist and retractable lanyards, buckets, belts, holders and accessories complete the solution for safe work at height, including tools-in-waiting, completing the solution for safe use and storage of hand tools.



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