Injuries from falling objects are among the most prevalent—and the most serious—types of workplace injuries. While workers are struck by falling objects on many different jobsites, construction workers in particular are at risk for these accidents.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” incidents happen in the U.S. every year. That works out to one injury every ten minutes caused by a falling object. Blunt trauma from falling objects can cause bruises, fractures, brain injuries, paralysis, and even death.
Falling material at work is often the result of inadequate safety measures. A worker who is injured by a falling object may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and/or a claim against a negligent third party. Hiring an experienced workplace injury attorney can greatly increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for a falling object injury.
Falling Objects Are a “Big Four” Construction Hazard
Falling objects have the potential to cause serious harm due to the effects of gravity. For example, an 8 pound wrench that falls 200 feet hits with a force equivalent to a small car striking a one-square inch area.
But even relatively small objects can be deadly when dropped from height. A New Jersey man was killed by a tape measure that fell 50 stories from a high-rise condo construction site. The tape measure was falling at around 140 mph when it struck the man in the head.
OSHA identifies struck-by falling objects as one of its Big Four Construction Hazards, or the top four causes of construction fatalities. A major cause of these injuries is safety standard violations. Fall protection violations once again topped OSHA’s list of violations in 2017.
OSHA construction site safety standards to protect against falling objects include:
Securing tools and materials
New York Law and Falling Object Injuries
New York State labor laws provide special rights to construction workers to recover compensation for falling object injuries.
Under the so-called “Scaffold Law,” the property owner and construction employer bear absolute liability for falling object injuries on construction sites that result from safety violations. Although workers’ compensation bars an employee from making a liability claim against their employer, the injured worker can still pursue a legal claim for damages against a responsible third party (such as a subcontractor or general contractor).
This means that, in some cases, a worker injured by a falling object may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits from their employer and also pursue a lawsuit against a negligent third party.
In order to recover the maximum amount of compensation for a construction site falling object injury, it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
Get Help From a Skilled Bronx Construction Accident Attorney
The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn has more than three decades of experience providing successful legal representation for workers injured on construction sites and elsewhere in New York City. Call us at 718-409-5500 or contact us to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español.