Many construction workers know that one of the most dangerous hazards on a worksite is posed by falling objects. Falling objects may include tools and equipment that fall from roofs, scaffolding, or from unfinished building floors. Or they may include materials that are dropped from backhoes or cranes. Workers can even be injured when struck by other workers who have fallen off of heights.
Why Are Falling Objects Dangerous?
Given enough distance to fall, even small objects can pose a risk of serious injury if they strike someone below. Ordinary tools like hammers or wrenches can carry significant force if allowed to achieve their terminal velocity in a fall, eventually striking the ground (or a construction) worker with a force potentially measuring several hundred Newtons. Unfortunately, while construction companies undertake a significant effort to prevent workers or large objects from falling from heights, many construction workers consider falling tools or small objects a part of the job.
Injuries Caused by Falling Objects
Examples of the injuries that may occur if a construction worker is struck by a falling object on a worksite include:
- Perforation injuries
- Soft tissue injuries, such as ligament, tendon, or muscle damage
- Facial injuries
- Crush injuries
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Head injuries, including skull fractures and traumatic brain injury
How to Reduce the Risk of Injury from Falling Objects
Some safety experts criticize the effort of construction companies to prevent accidents caused by falling objects, arguing that passive measures such as debris nets are not enough to prevent all accidents. Instead, they contend that the risk of injury from falling objects can further be reduced by adopting proactive measures, just as proactive measures like harnesses are used to prevent workers from falling from heights. Some of the steps recommended to prevent smaller objects and tools from falling off heights include:
- Using lanyards, D-rings, or tool cinches to secure tools to a worker’s tool belt
- Securing heavier tools and equipment to an anchor point on scaffolding or a building structure, rather than letting it be carried on a worker
- Installing screens and toe boards on scaffolding, roofs, and open areas where objects may inadvertently be knocked off
In addition, construction companies should insist that other important safety practices be followed, such as maintaining barricades around hazardous areas and requiring all persons on the site to wear effective hard hats.
What Are Your Rights If You Are Injured at a Construction Job by a Falling Object
If you are a construction worker who was injured by a falling object on a work site, you may have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation with your employer to recover financial benefits such as:
- Medical benefits, which pay for reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation of a work injury and also provide reimbursement of certain travel expenses to medical providers
- Temporary disability benefits, which provide partial wage replacement for workers who miss time from work or suffer a temporary reduction in earnings while recovering from a work injury
- Permanent disability benefits, which may provide financial payments for a permanent impairment based on the type and severity of disability
In addition, if a third party’s negligence resulted in a falling object accident that injured you, you may also have the right to pursue a personal injury claim.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Construction Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a construction accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Matzus Law LLC represent clients injured because of Pennsylvania construction accidents in Pittsburgh, Butler, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Washington, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Commerce Square 2005 Market St., Suite 910 Pittsburgh, PA 19103, as well as an office in Pittsburgh.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.