In the construction industry, there are some type of accidents that are more common than others, causing more deaths than any other type of accident. These are known as “construction’s fatal fours” and eliminating these accidents would save the lives of 602 workers in America every year. These include falls, electrocutions, and caught in-between accidents… and struck by falling objects. Today we want to focus on accidents that happen when an employee is struck by an object, how deadly these accidents can be, and what can be done within the construction industry to change this.
Learn the Statistics
Each year, many workers die from struck-by accidents. In the year 2007, for instance, there were a total of 504 struck-by cases, with 311 deaths happening. Approximately 26% of the deaths that occur in construction happen due to these specific accidents. One of the main risk factors of these accidents is working or walking below an elevated work surface, which could make you more prone to being hit by falling objects.
OSHA reports that there are about 50,000 struck by falling objects incidents reported in a variety of industries every year, which means that there is one injury caused by a falling object every 10 minutes! Despite the statistics and the fact that proper safety equipment could have prevented a wide variety of the injuries and deaths stemming from these accidents, contractors and companies tend to ignore the fact that these accidents are happening and the numbers continue to rise.
How These Accidents Can Be Prevented
OSHA and a variety of workplaces recommend and require their employees to use fall protection equipment for tools. Here are the rules they recommend following:
- There should always be lanyards and wristbands to safely hold onto equipment and they should be set in a way that allows you to use the tool without issue
- You should never have to modify the tool to effectively attach a protective system to it
- Tools over 5 pounds should be attached to a fixed structure and used with a tether
OSHA says that tools should always be secured no matter what, and that hazard warning signs should be posted around a site so that people do not walk unexpectedly in a dangerous area. In some cases, workplaces use debris nets and catch platforms to deflect falling objects if they happen to fall anyway.
When You Have Been Injured
There are many reasons why these accidents happen, even if some can be prevented. Sometimes, a worker could make a simple mistake because of a careless error, or because they were lacking proper training. Perhaps a contractor improperly set up protective equipment meant to catch objects when they fall. No matter what, if safety rules were not abided by and you were struck with an object, you may have sustained serious injuries. You could suffer concussions, brain injuries, neck and back injuries, and even paralysis from being hit by an object. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or be able to make a claim against a third party if your employer was not responsible for your injuries. Call us at the Accident Law Group if you have been injured by a falling object in the construction workplace and need help with your case. We are waiting to hear from you today, so give us a call at 602-262-4254.