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Falling Objects

Construction workers are at risk every day of being injured or killed by falling objects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers being struck by objects among the fatal four leading causes of construction accident deaths.

Construction workers are at risk of broken bones, head injuries, or death from falling objects when they work beneath cranes, scaffolds, ladders, and wherever overhead work is being performed. In addition to tools and material falling from elevated work platforms, construction workers are frequently injured by loads being dropped while being moved or loaded, and heavy equipment tipping over or rolling onto workers.

The OSHA and the New York Department of Labor have safety standards to protect workers from falling objects. When a worker is struck by falling tools, material, debris, or other objects, it is usually because someone has disregarded established policies and procedures meant to prevent such an accident. Sometimes, negligent employers may fail to enforce the wearing of safety gear or ensuring properly secure work areas, which increases the risk of employees being hit and injured from falling objects.

If you have been injured by something falling onto you at a job site, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You also may be entitled to make a claim against the owner of the property or as part of the special rights granted by the New York ladder and scaffold law. Our New York City construction accident attorneys of Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. can work with you to ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 212-490-5700 to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Construction Supervisors Know Duty to Protect from Falling Objects

The most common falling objects at a construction site are dropped tools from fellow workers. Poorly placed buckets, tools, hammers, and scraps of wood or metal can also fall and injure multiple workers. Material stacked or placed on shelving improperly can also fall and injure passersby.

Forklifts are known to flip and cause accidents, and even job-site trucks can be improperly loaded and drop their loads. Workers who work in the fall zone can be gravely injured.

Falling objects can cause victims severe blunt-force trauma and leave an employee out of work for months or unable to return to work. A worker hit by a falling object may suffer injuries that range from spinal injuries to chemical burns and even wrongful death. Crushing accidents can occur as well, leaving the individual with painful traumatic rhabdomyolysis and an associated list of health complications.

A hard hat is the most recognized means of protecting a construction worker from traumatic head injuries caused by falling objects. Head protection is required by OSHA rules as well as the State of New York. The NY Department of Labor’s Safety and Health rules for personal protective equipment require that every worker who is required to work or pass within any area where there is a danger of being struck by falling objects or materials (or where the hazard of head bumping exists) shall be provided with and required to wear an approved safety hat.

NY Labor Law

New York Labor Law (§ 23) requires such protection from falling objects such as:

  • Catch platforms mounted on an exterior vertical wall of any building or other structure and designed to catch and hold falling objects or material from upper working levels
  • Overhead protection on multiple-point suspension scaffolds where there is a hazard from falling objects or material
  • Overhead protection installed at the crosshead of hoist cars used for material hoisting to protect any person from falling objects
  • Sheds or other overhead protection on any walkway endangered by falling objects or materials
  • A protective platform above the level at which any work is being performed in an elevator shaft
  • Overhead protection for every operator of every hoisting machine used with material platforms or bucket hoists
  • Overhead protection for tower crane cabs and remote control stations for such cranes
  • A substantial overhead canopy or screen to protect the operator of every forklift truck from falling objects and materials
  • A substantial covering to protect the operator of every pile driver from falling objects or materials, steam, cinders, and water

In addition to NY Labor Law, the General Duty Clause of the federal OSHA requires that employers provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

In short, construction and demolition site owners, superintendents, foremen and other managers in New York know or should know they are required to take various steps to protect workers from falling objects. Those who take shortcuts to save time, money, or simply the effort required to protect workers are negligent.

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Construction Workers Injured on an Exterior Scaffold

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We Can Help If You’ve Been Injured by a Falling Object at a NYC Construction Site

If you have suffered an injury that requires medical treatment while working at a construction site, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. New York workers’ compensation pays for all medical bills, including medication costs, and for a portion of lost wages during recovery.

You may also be able to seek additional compensation from a property owner or employer if the accident was covered by the New York ladder and scaffold law. Additionally, other parties responsible for your accident may be held accountable through a third-party lawsuit.

In such a lawsuit, you would have to show that a party other than your employer was negligent in a manner that contributed to your accident and that the accident caused your injuries. A third-party lawsuit might be filed against a:

  • Subcontractor or vendor that failed to erect protective overhead platforms
  • Manufacturer or distributor of faulty protective equipment
  • Construction site property owner if the contractor in charge of the site did not follow safety guidelines
  • Engineers or architects responsible for site plans if the collapse of a structure that caused injuries was due to faulty design

A third-party lawsuit may also seek money that workers’ compensation does not pay, including payments for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.

Any time a construction worker has been seriously injured in a job-site accident, the circumstances should be independently investigated by an attorney knowledgeable about the construction industry in New York. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. has the experience necessary to investigate the circumstance of a construction accident caused by falling objects and ensure that injured workers obtain all of the compensation they are due, including compensation available through third-party claims.

Contact Our Experienced Construction Accident Attorneys in NYC

The lawyers of Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. have over 75 years of combined experience investigating construction accidents on behalf of injured workers and their families. You can rest assured knowing that our aggressive, yet empathetic lawyers are working diligently to hold responsible parties accountable for your losses, whether they are employers, manufacturers of defective products, or negligent fellow employees.

The NYC personal injury lawyers of Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. have years of experience investigating construction accidents on behalf of injured workers and their families. We can work to resolve your case in a manner that ensures your financial recovery and your ability to move forward with your life. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation. 212-490-5700.

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05/15/2019

“I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.”

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