When you're working on a construction project here in New York City, one particular hazard of which you must be aware is falling objects. The focus should remain on preventing tools and other objects from falling instead of retrieving them mid-air or on limiting the consequences of their fall.
In 2015, fall protection violations were the No. 1 violation listed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Their figures included falling tools, materials and humans. Annually, OSHA records over 50,000 "struck by falling object" incidents all over the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) breaks that down to an injury every 10 minutes somewhere from a dropped object.
Why the danger?
It all comes down to physics of gravity. If a worker 200 feet up in the air drops a tool weighing eight pounds, when it strikes the ground it's with the force of 2,833 lbs psi. Think of it as equal to a sedan striking an area of one-square-inch.
Workers should do their part to stay safe by remembering to tie off and always wearing harnesses when working off the ground. But it's also important to tie off tools. Debris nets, personal protective equipment (PPE) and toeboards all can minimize damage from falling objects. But the goal should remain prevention at all times.
If you are an NYC construction worker who gets hit by a falling object on a job site, your recovery could be extensive should you survive the initial impact. You may never be able to work in the construction industry again or be too disabled to work at all in any field. Such an incident can impact every area of your life, from your economic stability to your interpersonal relationships.
It's important to understand how to seek compensation for a construction accident caused by a falling object. Then you can choose the best course of action for your circumstances.