Lightweight Composite Solution provides dropped object protection.

Press Release Summary:

Featuring layers of Kevlar® fabric secured between 2 layers of plywood and supported by aluminum frame, rigid dropped-object protection (DOP) solution stops commonly dropped objects. Composite panels can be carried by 2 men and raised/lowered via rope and pulley, and plywood sections are held together with wood screws to facilitate dismantling and accelerate material removal. Safe to erect and dismantle, this 4.5 lb/ft² solution replaces nets and steel plate-and-wood-plank solutions.

Original Press Release:

Safway Develops Game-Changing Dropped-Object Protection

New Kevlar Option Is Quicker, Safer and More Cost-effective

WAUKESHA, Wis. – Safway has developed a new rigid dropped-object protection (DOP) solution featuring layers of Kevlar® fabric secured between two layers of plywood and supported by an aluminum frame. The new composite solution effectively stops common dropped objects, decreases costs, is safer to erect and dismantle and, at 4.5 lbs./sq. ft., it reduces weight by 78 percent compared to using steel plate.

To confirm performance of the composite solution, the panels were tested by dropping 5 pound hammers and a 2 meterm section of 25M rebar from a height of 117 feet, the maximum height obtainable at the test facility. The composite platform stopped the hammer completely, and the rebar only pulled the Kevlar fabric through the bottom plywood about 2 cm for a total deceleration distance of about 5 cm. The composite solution works in applications where nets provide too much deflection and where the weight of the traditional steel plate-and-wood-plank solution would increase costs because of additional material handling requirements.

“Considering that 50 percent of accidents occur in material handling, we realized that a lighter solution would be more efficient, as well as safer,” says Eric Durham, Senior Applications Designer, Safway Group, who was part of the team that developed the DOP solution.

Challenges Spur Innovation
Safway developed the new composite solution in response to a complex set of challenges on a gravity-based offshore oil platform that required a DOP solution to shield workers, as well as pumps, motors, pipes and other sensitive equipment.

Historically, DOP on similar projects consisted of 1/4-inch. steel plate on top of two layers of 2- x 10-inch. plank, with each DOP section weighing about 1000 lbs., or 20 lbs./sq. ft. On this complex jobsite, moving them in place would require horizontal and vertical travel distances of 100 metersm each, assisted by cranes and other machinery. After installation, the planks would be removed and the steel cut into smaller pieces for easier removal.

The new composite solution saves costs multiple ways. First, it reduces material costs; the Kevlar fabric is one-third the cost of 1/4-inch. steel plate and shipping to a job site costs less. Second, the composite panels are light enough so that two men can carry them, as well as lower and raise them with a rope and pulley instead of a costly crane. Third, because the plywood sections are simply held together with wood screws, dismantling is faster and material removal is easier. Overall, the Safway composite DOP solution increases safety by reducing material handling risks.

“This is the Safway mindset,” said Eric Roberts, a Safway’s regional vice president who worked on the project. “On any project, the whole Safway team is working with the customer to look for any way to save time and money, but do the job right. Safer, quicker, less costly — that’s what we do,” he said.

For more information on Safway DOP solutions, contact your local Safway representative or visit

About Safway Group
With more than 114 locations in the U.S. and Canada and a growing system of distributors worldwide, Safway Group companies deliver efficient, high-performance multiservice solutions – The Smart Way® – by collaborating, communicating and sharing resources. Offering experience and expertise in access, scaffolding, insulation, fireproofing, surface preparation and coatings, Safway Group companies include All-American Scaffold; CL Coatings; Dalco; Industrial Coatings & Fireproofing; MobleySafway; New England Scaffolding; Redi Solutions; Safway Atlantic; Safway Services; Safway Services Canada; S&E Bridge & Scaffold; and Swing Staging. Safway has been an industry leader since 1936. Safway Group companies serve the petrochemical, oil and gas, power, refining, marine, manufacturing, transportation and commercial construction industries worldwide. For more information about Safway Group, visit:

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