BLOG: Worst Case Scenario – When 500 lbs. is Falling in Your Direction

Do you know what it takes to survive?

Mnet 122218 Worst Case Logo

This situation starts in a warehouse (though the following rules for dealing with something that’s falling could apply to any heavy object in a variety of settings). 

You’ve been tasked with fixing a broken floor scale. The scale is lifted about six feet in the air and a standardized 500 pound weight is sitting on top of it while you tinker with the scale to fix it. You’re cranking on some of the bolts on the scale with a wrench when uh, oh – you notice that you’ve jiggled the scale so much, the weight is off balance and is now slipping in your direction. What do you do?

Easy there! One wrong move and it could fall on you.

  1. Get out of the way and let the weight fall on the floor.
  2. Reach up and try to keep it from sliding down. Then carefully push it back in place.
  3. Go get a forklift and then maneuver the scale to get the weight balanced again.











  1. Get out of the way and let the weight fall on the floor.

In the moment, instincts might make you want to reach up to keep the weight from crashing to the floor – which happened once at Milwaukee-based Wixon, a flavors and seasonings company. According to Eric Putnam, Wixon’s food safety, quality, and training systems manager, the employee couldn’t hold the weight and narrowly managed to get out of the way when the weight finally slid with gravity and fell. The employee only suffered minor injuries, but it could have been worse.

Because trying to attempting to move the weight back into place with a forklift is also precarious, Putnam says cutting your losses, moving away from the scale and securing the area so that other employees don’t get hit while the weight falls is the safest bet.


Want to submit a Worst Case Scenario to Chem.Info? If you’re a safety expert with an idea, shout out to Meagan Parrish –

More in Safety