Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Dropped Object Consequence Calculator

3 min read

A dropped object is defined as ‘any object that falls from its previous static position under its own weight’. If an object falls, the force of gravity will pull it towards the ground and if you happen to be in the way you’ll be hit; it’s as simple as that.

The degree to which you might get injured will be influenced by many factors, but the simple rule of thumb is, the heavier or the further an object can fall, the more damage and injury it can cause. This course will help you identify potential objects, and look at ways to reduce the risk of harm.

Dropped Object Calculator is an electronic excel based calculator for determining the potential consequence of a dropped object.

The Calculator provides a common benchmark in the classification of the potential consequences of a dropped object.

Graph Functionality

For full functionality, please Enable Content where prompted. For information, a single Macro is employed in this workbook to rescale the top Mass(lb) axis where applicable.

Calculator Assumptions

The Calculator assumes that full PPE is being worn and that the object is blunt (no sharp edges the outcome would be worse).

Calculator Accuracy

The Calculator is a guide only and is intended to give a general idea of the potential severity of a dropped object. A detailed and specific risk assessment will always deliver a more accurate calculation of potential severity.

Calculator Key Descriptions


Death resulting from an injury or trauma.


A Lost Time Incident (LTI). Non-fatal traumatic injury that causes any loss of time from work beyond the day or shifts it occurred. Also referred to as Day Away From Work Case (DAFWC).


A Recordable Incident. A Work-related injury that does not involve death, day(s) away from work, restricted work or job transfer, and where the employee receives medical treatment beyond first aid.


A First Aid Case. Limited or no injury. Treatment may be limited to first aid.

Calculating Fall Energey (Joules).

Mass(m) x Height(h) x Gravitational Acceleration(g = 9.82m/s). The Joule is a unit of energy equal to the work done by a force of one newton acting through one meter. In terms of dropped objects, it is recognized that any object achieving 40 Joules or more is likely to result in a recordable (MINOR) incident or worse on impact with a human body. For example, 200g Machine Bolt falling 27m = 53Joules (0.2[m] x 27[h] x 9.82[g] = 53Joules).

Purpose of HSE Dropped Object Consequence Online Calculator

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.

It is designed to be employed during task planning/risk assessment to determine potential severity rating. It is also used in reporting processes to determine the potential outcome of an actually dropped object incident. It may also be considered during design and manufacture to address requirements for positioning, fixtures, and fittings for items to be secured at height.

Considerations when using HSE Dropped Object Consequence Online Calculator

  • With light objects (<0.1 kg) a key influencing factor is the effect of an object punching the skin and damaging tissue/organic functions.
  • The calculator assumes a blunt object so is not compatible with broken glass, metal shards, etc.
  • The wearing of standard PPE, eg hard hat, safety boots, and eye protection, is assumed in the calculator.
  • Do not subtract the height of an individual, measure fall distance to solid deck/ground level.
  • DROPS Calculator and other similar tools are guides only providing a cursory indication of the possible outcome – they are not an accurate prediction.
  • In reality, even a small object falling from height can be lethal.

Download The Calculator

Dropped Object Consequence Calculator

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