A part of Foreign Material Exclusion programs is preventing objects from being dropped on employees. In this case the area where the foreign material is not desired is in contact with another worker.
In 2008 the bureau of labor statistics reports that 14.2% of workplace injuries resulting in time off from work were caused by being struck by an object. For construction specifically, being struck by an object accounts for 21% of workplace injuries. In manufacturing injuries are 16.6% the result of object strikes. Overall there are almost 153,000 injuries each year that are a result of being struck by an object.
On average the injuries listed above resulted in a loss of 5 days of work. A large percentage of the injuries resulted in a greater than 1 month loss of work.
In 2008, 349 people died from falling equipment.
The direct costs of injured workers include workers’ compensation insurance, medical expenses, and legal services. The injured worker also temporarily reduces productivity while a replacement is found, or while the company waits for the worker to return.
There are, however, a number of indirect costs that result from injured workers. They include possibly damaged property, cost of accident investigation, scheduling delays and more. Some less obvious costs are decreased morale in the workplace, and harmed customer perceptions of the company.
Foreign Material Exclusion programs reduce the likelihood of being struck by an object. Tools are secured by lanyards, and other loose items are kept in control as much as possible.
An FME program can be expected to lower the number of injuries each year through a focus on prevention. Having a proactive mindset and implementing procedures that prevent future safety hazards, such as those caused by damaged equipment, or current hazards, such as dropped equipment will reduce the number of workplace injuries.