Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme (DROPS)

DROPS (Dropped Objects Prevention Scheme) is a worldwide initiative focused on preventing dropped objects, with the ultimate goal of delivering a second nature dropped objects prevention strategy across a wide range of industries. DROPS is essentially a Global Work Group, represented by 200 operators, contractors, service companies and industry bodies, all sharing commitment and enthusiasm for the common goal of dropped object prevention. NLG is proud to be an active member of the DROPS community. Contact DROPS DROPS Campaign TeamSilverdot LimitedBanchory Business CentreBurn O’Bennie RoadBanchory, AberdeenshireAB31 5ZU Tel: +44 (0)1330 826510Email: admin@dropsonline.orgWebsite: www.dropsonline.org How DROPS Works The basic remit of DROPS is to consider all avenues available for improving the industry’s dropped object prevention performance. DROPS then distil and identify the key learnings and deliver these back into the industry in the form of awareness, best practice, recommendations, lessons, tools and techniques. Specific focus groups within DROPS work each key issue to its conclusion as an effective deliverable product, eg a presentation, a best practice, a poster, a procedure etc. DROPS members meet at regular forums where progress is reviewed, focus areas are prioritised, new technologies/services are presented and we all share best practice and lessons learned are shared in an open and collaborative environment. Useful resources Calculator The DROPS Calculator provides a common benchmark in the classification of the potential consequences of a dropped object. One of a number of similar tools, the DROPS Calculator is endorsed by the DROPS Workgroup. While other ‘calculators’ exist, they all follow the same principle – plotting the mass of a dropped object against the distance it falls to determine its possible consequences. Download DROPS Calculator → Recommended Practice This Recommended Practice was developed by a coalition of oil and gas professionals with the aim of setting basic requirements for Dropped Object prevention that can be incorporated into existing company Safety Management Systems (SMSs). Download DROPS Recommend Practice → Reliable Securing This revision of our ‘Best Practice’ handbook consolidates Reliable Securing as Industry’s principal source of dropped object prevention recommendations and risk management guidance. Download DROPS Reliable Securing → History Since the late 1990s, DROPS has evolved and developed becoming a widely acknowledged global resource in dropped object prevention. Here’s a quick look back: 1997As part of a UK Oil and Gas safety initiative known as “Step Change in Safety”, studies were made into key areas requiring improvement in our Industry. Among the raft of focus areas identified was that of dropped object prevention. To look into the subject, a small workgroup was formed comprising several operators (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil etc) and several drilling contractors (KCA Deutag, GSF etc). The group identified the drilling sector and in particular the derrick as the source of most dropped object incidents. They recognised that the problem was huge and not restricted to the UK. Feeling restricted under the “Step Change in Safety” banner, they agreed to establish an independent workgroup and they sought assistance with the implementation and facilitation of the new international workgroup. 1998The DROPS Workgroup, based in Aberdeen, was duly established. The mission was agreed – “to ultimately deliver a permanent and ’second nature’ dropped objects prevention strategy within the Drilling sector”. A structure and operating model was established for the group. This saw BP initially take the helm and the group’s focus was on identifying best practice. Around 20 companies formed the membership. Regular forums were held and small action groups formed to identify and implement improvements in the Drilling Sector. 1999A pilot inspection and management system developed by BP and KCA Deutag was recognised as an excellent way forward and this became the basis of the DROPS Management System still in use today, ie derrick zones, inventory, control and mitigation measures, inspection checks, picture books, review and improve. The guidelines were duly published and made available throughout the Industry. 2000-2002Still focused solely on the Drilling Sector, DROPS buy-in and membership steadily grew and began to embrace other European regions with new members joining, including Statoil, Maersk, Norske Hydro etc. The model of regular forums and small action groups looking at individual improvements continued and many new DROPS products emerged from the Group… DROPS Calculator, Tools at Height Toolkits and Procedures, Tour of Duty Workshop, Poster Campaigns, Checklists, etc. 2003-2006Statistics showed that the efforts made had delivered significant improvements in the drilling sector – Drilling was no longer the worst performing sector! DROPS recognised that the focus had to change from Drilling only to cover all operations. The Chevron/DROPS ‘Through the Supply Chain Roadmap’ was developed highlighting the challenges in every phase of our supply chain. Emphasis slowly began to change from Static to Dynamic dropped objects, eg collisions, interference, moving equipment, cargo handling. Now with a membership of around 40 companies, and a Steering Committee of 8, DROPS focused on all sectors of the Industry and not just Drilling. The emerging new DROPS products had a far broader impact, eg DROPS Roadmap, Forklift Pocket Dangers, Cargo Handling Guidelines, etc. Through the efforts of Statoil, our Reliable Securing standard was published, for the first time giving recommendations and best practice for the primary and secondary retention of equipment held at height. Importantly, the requirements could be fed back to designers and manufacturers such that new equipment arrived with secondary retention provisions. 2007- 2009The DROPS Training course was launched, delivered and cascaded throughout the membership and beyond. Facing similar problems to Oil & Gas, the Marine Sector began to engage with DROPS with new marine members joining and a new cross-industry exchange opening. DROPS put emphasis on showcasing technologies and products that could help drive improvements, eg Go Home Safe Workshops, Safe Bolting Technologies etc. The focus turned to globalise DROPS across all regions of the world. DROPS Forums were hosted in the USA and in Asia. DROPS Training was also brought to the USA and Asia and momentum in these regions began, with many new members joining from both areas (membership exceeds 80 companies). Independent groups for DROPS USA and DROPS Asia were established, both with their own Steering Committees and objectives, to bring regional direction and focus on the DROPS movement. Products emerging from DROPS included the updated Reliable Securing Standard, SGB’s Cost of Accidents DVD, the Hazard Hunt toolkit, Rogues’ Galleries etc. 2010-2011DROPS (Global) focus on Common Inspection Standards and Seasonal DROPS Campaigns. DROPS USA and DROPS Asia formally kick-off their programme of Forums and events. DROPS introduce the programme to the Middle East Region, and pursue opportunities for exchanges and shared learnings across other regions and industries. Membership now exceeds 120 with most new member companies emerging from beyond Europe. Several Associate members mark the stronger ties with other industry bodies and related industries, eg construction, lifting, logistics etc. 2012-2014DROPS training spreads worldwide, with DROPS Train-the-Trainer courses delivered regularly in all regions. Cascading from this, Company and asset-specific dropped object prevention training grows on a global basis. DROPS Asia host numerous events throughout the Region, including China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore. Hundreds attended each event, demonstrating the huge appetite and support for dropped object prevention. Membership exceeds 160 and reflects the global diversity of the DROPS campaign. DROPS offer a greater variety of translated DROPS materials, including best practices, awareness posters and reliable securing booklets in several languages. DROPS Campaign Pack annual updates go digital, affording DROPS members and pack subscribers access to the full portfolio and historic catalogue of DROPS materials. DROPS publish Revision 3 of Reliable Securing booklet with 50% more content. 2015DROPS website overhaul and relaunch with member promotions and enhanced communications systems. DROPS Train the Trainer: content updated, enhanced and extended. Worldwide schedule of training events and customised asset-specific training sessions deliver opportunity to cascade the materials further afield. DROPS digital Rogues Gallery developed and issued, replacing previous static displays in regional heliports. Diamond Offshore welcomed to DROPS Global Steering Committee, DROPS membership reaches 200. 2016DROPS Reliable Securing (Revision 4) Workgroup established to review and update DROPS Best Practice guidance. Closer collaboration with Industry bodies and associations, including IADC, SfS, LEEA, IRATA and the Certifying Authorities. There was wider interest shown in DROPS by other industry sectors. 200 attend DROPS Middle East Forum in Dubai (March). Repsol Sinopec welcomed to DROPS Global Steering Committee. Marketing support extended to include DROPS promotional materials, banners and activities, available for DROPS member use at events. DROPS North America Chapter reinvigorated with an Operator-led Steering Committee, focusing on the development of a DROPS Standard Reference document. 2017Broader industry engagement with Renewables Sector. Publication of DROPS Recommended Practice, a concise guide to establishing Dropped Object Prevention schemes. Establishment of Regional Chapters in Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman.

Your questions answered

It’s been in development for some time, and now it’s here it’s likely to have implications for dropped object prevention around the world.

It’s an important step for dropped object prevention, and one you need to know about. We’re going to answer some of the most common questions about this new safety standard, including:

  • What is the ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 Standard?
  • Does it cover how to tether tools?
  • Is ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 mandatory?
  • If it’s for North America will it affect me if I don’t work there?
  • Does this mean I need to replace my tool tethers?
  • How can I check if a product is ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 approved?
  • Why has it been introduced?
  • What is the ANSI?
  • What is the ISEA?
  • Are NLG tool tethering systems ANSI/ISEA 121-compliant?

What is the ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 Standard?

The ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 Standard is for tethering and container equipment that’s designed for dropped object prevention. This new American National Standard for Dropped Object Prevention Solutions sets out the minimum design, performance, testing and labelling requirements for any products designed to prevent dropped objects.

It’s important to note that the emphasis is on dropped object prevention, not protection. That means it doesn’t cover the likes of personal protective equipment (PPE), netting, barricades, toe boards or anything else that’s designed to protect workers from dropped objects rather than to prevent objects being dropped in the first place.

The standard currently covers four kinds of solutions:

  • Tool attachments – Defined as any retrofitted attachment points that are fitted to tools or other equipment to enable them to be tethered.
  • Anchor attachments – These allow a tool to be tethered to someone or something. They’re also retrofitted attachment points, but to a fixed anchor location (such as a structure) or a worker.
  • Tool tethers – The tool lanyards that tether the equipment to an anchor point.
  • Containers – Any container that can be used to transport tools, equipment or parts to and from work areas at height. This can include bags, buckets and pouches.

Does it cover how to tether tools?

The short answer is no. This standard is not about how you tether tools. It’s focused on the equipment you’re using for tool tethering.

That means you need to follow manufacturer guidance on weight limits for tethers, anchor points and harnesses, and make use of their training materials to learn how to safely tether your tools.

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 also doesn’t specify what tools need to be tethered or when you should tether them.

Is ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 mandatory?

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is only directly applicable to workers and businesses in North America and it’s a voluntary standard. It’s not mandatory but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

This standard is establishing best practice in the field of tool tethering equipment. The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA) in America or the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK might not have formal regulations for tool tethering equipment, but both state that companies and workers should follow best practice.

ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 is establishing best practice. That means you can’t just ignore it.


Because if you are investigated over a dropped object injury or fatality, the OHSA, HSE or any other investigatory body will look to see if you were following industry best practice. If you weren’t, you’ll face much tougher penalties.

If it’s for North America will it affect me if I don’t work there?

As we’ve already said, this isn’t mandatory but it will impact working at height around the world. Industry best practice is accepted beyond geographical borders. Although ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 has been published in the USA, that doesn’t mean regulatory authorities in the UK or elsewhere around the world won’t take the findings on board.

It could also act as a catalyst to encourage other countries to publish similar safety standards for tool tethering systems. By adopting the ANSI/ISEA 121 standard now, you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Ultimately we should all want to make our workplaces safer. Following the best practice guidance set out by ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 will do that.

Does this mean I need to replace my tool tethers?

No. If you’re already using tool tethers there’s no need to replace them immediately. This is a voluntary standard. However, you may want to think about upgrading your tool tethering equipment to ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 compliant tool lanyards as and when they need replacing.

If you don’t have proper tool tethers and are using makeshift tethers like string and duct tape, you should invest in proper tool tethering systems.

Why has it been introduced?

In the US, ‘struck by object’ is one of the leading causes of death on construction sites. Figures from the Bureau of Labour Statistics show there are over 50,000 ‘struck by object’ incidents every year in the US.

Reducing these figures has to be a priority. A lot of work has gone into fall prevention. Now it’s time to focus on dropped object prevention.

More and more people are working at height. That means it’s even more important to improve safety and reduce dropped object incidents.

What is the ANSI?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, not-for-profit organisation in the USA. It promotes ‘voluntary consensus standards’, which is a fancy way of saying they help create safety and quality standards that can be adopted across a whole industry (or industries).

Although ANSI standards are voluntary, they are often recognised as industry best practice. That means regulators can refer to these when deciding whether a company has done everything possible to prevent an incident from occurring.

What is the ISEA?

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is the trade association for safety manufacturers. It has been established for over 75 years and deals with personal protective equipment as well as technologies that improve safety in the workplace.

Its members are leaders in safety equipment manufacturing and they contribute to the creation of standards, like 121-2018, which can then be adopted by organisations like ANSI. ISEA is a global organisation. Its aim is to promote the safety of those who work in hazardous environments around the world.

Are NLG tool tethering systems ANSI/ISEA 121-compliant?

At NLG we’re committed to dropped object prevention and manufacture our tool tethering equipment to the highest standards. Tool tethering equipment that already complies with this new standard will be clearly marked as ‘ANSI/ISEA 121-2018 compliant’ in the specification.

You’ll find it listed alongside other important information, such as its maximum load rating, dimensions and the materials it’s made of.

Here’s an example:

We’re always working to ensure our products are of the highest standard and that they meet best practice guidance.