The construction industry continues to be one of the most dangerous professions. An employer or subcontractor that is not in compliance with state and federal safety regulations places workers at a much higher risk of catastrophic injuries or loss of life, including those caused by accidents involving falling objects.
About 10 percent of the deaths in the construction industry each year result from cases in which a worker was struck by an object. This makes accidents involving falling objects one of the “Fatal Four” as listed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our construction accident lawyers represent injured construction workers and families who have lost loved ones in these tragic and preventable accidents. Our goal is to help our clients recover the maximum compensation they deserve.
Every case is unique with regard to the circumstances that resulted in the injuries or death. An in-depth investigation into the facts surrounding the accident should start as soon as possible after the accident to determine what parties may be held liable. We have recovered millions in damages over our years in practice, and we are personally committed to fighting for the rights of injured construction workers and their families.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Your Rights Under State and Federal Laws: Falling Objects
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The law governing safety on construction sites in New York specifically addresses the dangers of falling objects, with regard to employer responsibility. Under the New York Safety and Health Statute, Part 23, § 23-1.7, Protection from General Hazards, employers are required to protect workers as follows:
“(a) Overhead hazards.
- Every place where persons are required to work or pass that is normally exposed to falling material or objects shall be provided with suitable overhead protection. Such overhead protection shall consist of tightly laid sound planks at least two inches thick full size, tightly laid three-quarter inch exterior grade plywood or other material of equivalent strength. Such overhead protection shall be provided with a supporting structure capable of supporting a loading of 100 pounds per square foot.
- Where persons are lawfully frequenting areas exposed to falling material or objects but wherein employees are not required to work or pass, such exposed areas shall be provided with barricades, fencing or the equivalent in compliance with this Part (rule) to prevent inadvertent entry into such areas.”
How Falling Object Accidents Happen
Federal labor law requires employers to have specific systems and protections in place to protect workers from falling objects under 1925.451(h)(1). Violations of state or federal safety regulations that have been the underlying cause of death or serious injuries include:
- Employees allowed to work in areas under moving loads.
- Hazard areas not barricaded.
- No signage in place to alert workers of hazards.
- Equipment failure – wire rope, lifting hooks, chains, etc.
- Unsecure tools used in overhead work.
- Faulty or inadequate toeboards, screens or guardrails on scaffolds.
- Inadequate placement or failure to install debris nets, catch platforms or canopies.
Falling objects on construction sites are not always the fault of employee carelessness, and may be the direct or indirect result of a failure by an employer, contractor or other party. In some cases, an employee may have been working with equipment or objects that do not meet safety standards, or faulty cranes or cable lines break and other situations that have led to injuries from the following types of falling objects:
- Power tools.
- Hand tools.
- Drywall, lumber, metal building materials.
- Pulleys, winches and cables.
- Equipment, debris or other material falling from loaders or cranes.
We can thoroughly review and investigate your accident to determine what occurred, who was responsible and what should be done legally to hold negligent parties accountable.
Injuries from Falling Objects
There are a range of serious or fatal injuries that occur on construction sites every year. Some of the injuries frequently caused by falling objects include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Spinal cord injury.
- Broken bones.
- Eye injuries.
- Deep cuts, lacerations.
- Skull fracture.
Legal Help for People Hurt by Falling Objects
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our legal team has over 100 years of combined experience. We are committed to providing personal service and attention in every case.
Contact us today for a free claim review and discussion about your legal rights following an injury caused by a falling object on a construction site in New York or Long Island.
- New York Labor Law: General Responsibility of Employers
- OSHA: Falling Objects
- OSHA: Commonly Used Statistics
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2013
- OSHA: Fall Protection in Construction