January 9, 2020
Construction Accident Injuries Caused by Falling Objects
By Jonathan Damashek
Before reading: If you have been injured by a falling object on a construction site, call 212-490-5700 to schedule a free initial consultation with our construction accident attorneys. Our attorneys have a history of success and have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured by falling objects.
Each day, construction workers in New York face numerous hazards on the job. One of the most common causes of injury and death on construction sites is falling objects. When a smaller object such a dropped tool falls, serious injury or harm may be prevented by wearing a hard hat.
Workers who do not keep their hard hats on or who are struck by larger falling objects or objects falling from a significant height are at an increased risk of sustaining severe head injuries or fatal injuries.
Negligence, careless behavior, faulty equipment or machinery, failure to secure an object properly, as well as attempts to shortcut or get around the federal safety regulations for the construction industry can put workers in harm’s way.
Guardrail Falls 81 Stories in New York Construction Site Accident
Construction workers in New York recently found themselves in a terrifying situation when a section of guardrail at a Park Avenue Tower construction site suddenly became dislodged from its hoist more than 81 stories up. An apparent malfunction of the hoist caused the eight-foot-long guardrail to go crashing to the ground where it landed on the sidewalk in front of a nearby building across 56th Street. Although the building is occupied, no injuries were sustained. That is not always the case.
Construction Industry Accident Statistics
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), construction worker fatalities accounted for approximately 20.3 percent (796) of the 3,929 fatal work-related injuries reported in the private sector in 2013.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts preliminary construction site fatalities at 824 for 2013, which was down from the previous year.
On-the-job injuries in the construction industry for 2013 occurred at a rate of 3.8 cases for every 100 full-time workers.
More than two-thirds of the injuries sustained required days away from work, enforced job restrictions, or transfers.
Being struck by an object was the construction industry’s second leading cause of workplace fatal accidents, with 82 fatalities.
Types of Injuries Commonly Caused by Falling Objects
Falling objects can cause all types of injuries. The extent of falling object injuries a construction worker might sustain depends on the size and weight of the object, the height from which it fell, whether its fall was slowed by other objects, and whether or not the victim was wearing protective gear.
Reasons a worker may be struck by an object include:
- Improper stacking of materials or supplies
- Failure to hold onto or properly secure a tool or machine component
- Lack of proper training
- Incorrect use of a tool or piece of equipment
- Inadequately secured load on a crane, hoist, or boom
- Too heavy a load
- Failure to follow safety standards
- Neglecting to use safety devices capable of catching or stopping falling objects and debris
- Faulty materials or parts leading to a breakdown or structural collapse
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Lack of posted warning signs
The types of injuries commonly sustained in construction accidents involving falling objects are:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Spine Injuries and Paralysis
- Permanent disabilities
How Workers Can Minimize their Risk of Being Struck By a Falling Object
Fortunately, there are a number of safety measures construction companies and their workers can take to minimize risk and reduce the odds of a construction accident caused by falling objects leading to serious injury or death.
- Wear protective safety gear (helmet, goggles, hard-toe boots, etc.) at all times while on the job
- Be careful to stay out of areas with posted signs warning about the potential for falling objects
- Stay away from barricaded hazard areas
- Never walk or stand in the fall zone under a crane, hoist, front loader, or other pieces of heavy equipment, particularly when it is carrying a load
- Do not walk or stand under ladders or scaffolds, or any other place where overhead work is being done as objects and debris are likely to fall
- Always use the right equipment for jobs or tasks at hand
- Do not stack materials or objects too high
- Take the time to stack materials in such a way that prevents sliding, falling, or having them collapse
- Inspect tools and equipment before using them
- Never use faulty or improperly maintained equipment or tools
- Do not exceed the lifting capacity of a crane, lift, or hoist
- When doing overhead work, secure your tools and equipment properly
In the event you or someone you love is struck by a falling object on a construction site, seek legal representation at once. Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer will significantly improve your chances of being able to maximize your workers’ compensation claim.
If another party, such as a subcontractor other than your employer caused the accident, you may have the legal right to seek compensation from them in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Schedule a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers to find out what we can do for you.
- The New York Times: Guardrail Falls 81 Stories at Park Avenue Tower Work Site
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration: https://www.osha.gov/doc/Commonly Used Statistics
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Industries at a Glance: About the Construction sector: Work-related Fatalities, Injuries, and Illnesses