Falling Materials - Consumer Justice Foundation

Falling Materials

Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
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Construction workers are put at risk of injury from falling objects anytime they are beneath an area in which work is being conducted. Unfortunately, the injuries resulting from falling materials can range from minor lacerations to broken bones, blindness and possibly even death. Unfortunately, not even a hard hat can protect workers from falling materials in some instances, although proper safety equipment can prevent more serious construction accidents and injuries from occurring. It is the responsibility of employers and supervisors to ensure that the workplace is a safe environment, and to enforce federal regulations put in place to protect the well-being of construction workers. When protocol is ignored or when employers cut corners to save time and money, the resulting consequences can be devastating. If you were injured by falling materials on a construction site, contact a construction accident attorney to explore your compensation options.

Causes of Injuries Involving Falling Objects

The construction industry is inherently dangerous, and negligence on the part of employers or supervisors only elevates the risks associated with construction work. Often injuries caused by falling materials occur because of the following factors:

  • A load breaks loose from a lift
  • A crane collapses
  • Improper rigging
  • A cable breaks
  • Building materials stored on upper floors or roof areas are not properly secured
  • Overloaded lifts, cranes or hoists

Injuries Caused by Falling Materials

Regardless of their size, falling materials on a job site can do significant damage. Even a small object like a screwdriver can cause devastating injuries if it falls from a high work area and hits a worker below. Any construction material, from power tools to pieces of scaffolding, can become a deadly weapon if it isn’t properly secured or if workers below aren’t equipped adequate safety gear. Some injuries commonly caused by falling materials include:

  • Head injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Back injury
  • Blindness
  • Wrongful death

OSHA Guidelines for Protection from Falling Materials

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ten percent of all fatal work accidents in 2006 occurred when the victim was struck by an object. In order to protect construction workers from this type of injury, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established the following guidelines to be followed by employers, general contractors, supervisors and workers alike:

  • Workers should wear hard hats where there is a potential for objects falling from above
  • Workers should wear safety-toed footwear to prevent crushed toes when working around falling objects
  • All elevated surfaces (beneath which people or machinery could be exposed to falling objects) should have standard 4-inch toeboards
  • Materials are piled, stack or racked in a way that prevents them from falling, tipping, collapsing spreading or rolling
  • Overhead guards should be in place to prevent forklift operators against falling objects

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Medical Benefits

For workers injured on the construction site, it is important to be aware that workers’ compensation laws in the United States were specifically developed in an effort to protect the rights of injured workers. Medical benefits for medical care and lost wages may be available to workers who sustain serious or life-threatening injuries on the job, and death benefits may be available to the families of workers who are killed in workplace injuries. Injured workers may also have grounds to file a third-party liability claim if their injuries were caused by a third party not employed by their employer.

A Construction Accident Attorney Can Help

Falling materials can cause serious injuries for construction workers, sometimes preventing them from returning to work for a period of time, or even permanently. Unfortunately, this loss of essential income only compounds the financial hardship caused by costly medical bills and other tragic consequences associated with serious injuries. If you were injured by a falling object on a construction site, or if you lost a loved one in such an injury, contact a construction accident attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to medical benefits or death benefits through workers’ compensation, and you may be able to pursue additional compensation through a third-party liability claim. With the help of a qualified construction accident lawyer, victims of workplace injuries can pursue the reimbursement they deserve and protect themselves and their families from further harm.

Posted Under: On The Job Injury, Work Related Lawsuits
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