Objects falling from heights are a huge safety concern in the construction industry and are easily among the top five hazards on any construction site. The types of objects that commonly fall are hand-held radios; hard hats; small tools, such as tape measures, wrenches and pliers; pieces of concrete; and nuts and bolts.
Falling objects in construction zones often result in serious head trauma or back injuries that require months of rehabilitation and surgery. Too often, basic safety violations are responsible which can involve improperly secured scaffolding, unmarked restricted areas, or a lack of netting to catch objects, which are dropped from above.
While the most obvious person at risk when objects are dropped is the one underneath, the person using the item can be at risk as well, for example worker dropped their hammer. His or her gut reaction is to try and snatch that hammer back before it ends up falling and that could throw somebody off balance or that dropped object could fall from a worker’s hand to the platform they are working on and a worker behind them could come by and trip over it.
Falling objects are often heavy and are always unexpected. When falling debris comes plummeting down from above, it is also usually moving at a very high rate of speed. Gravity, combined with the weight of the object, can make these accidents deadly. To make matters worse, the injuries most often sustained are head injuries.
FALLING OBJECTS OR DEBRIS ON CONSTRUCTION SITES IS ALMOST ALWAYS CATASTROPHIC.
Physical impairment or disability from head trauma is a very common injury resulting from falling object or debris at a construction site. Spinal cord injuries, broken bones, or even blindness from being struck on the head are common injuries suffered by construction workers. Falling objects or Debris Accident cases are very complicated because it can be hard to prove who’s at fault. A thorough investigation is needed to prove who was responsible for such accidents. In New York, property owners and general contractors involved in construction projects have a legal responsibility to protect workers from the serious injuries that can be caused by falling objects.
NEW YORK STATE CONSTRUCTION LAW
A hard hat is the most recognized means of protecting a construction worker from a traumatic head injury 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.
- Catch platforms mounted on an exterior vertical wall of any building.
- 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
- An extensive overhead canopy or screen to protect the operator of every fork lift truck from falling objects and materials
- An extensive covering to protect the operator of every pile driver from falling objects or materials, steam, cinders and water.
If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries from a Falling Objects or Debris at Construction Site, you should consult with a New York Construction Accident Attorney as you may be entitled to a large money award.