Construction is one of the most hazardous industries, with injuries occurring almost every year. Mishaps can occur for various reasons, the most common of which are negligence, faulty machinery, and unsafe workplace practices, to name a few.
When you see or hear about construction accidents, they usually involve heavy equipment like cranes or scaffolding. However, falling debris poses a serious threat to construction workers. Moreover, workers are injured or killed almost yearly by falling objects or equipment.
Who’s Liable For Falling Debris Injuries?
Regardless of the type of injury in the workplace, whether due to falling debris or poor safety practices, someone is always liable. In most cases, the contractor, subcontractor, or site owner will be held responsible.
Whoever is responsible for breaching their duty of care should compensate for the injuries. If the construction company fails to keep the site safe, they could face liability. However, it would be best to prove that somebody’s negligence resulted in harm. Going through the legalities of such issues can be complex, so working with a personal injury attorney In Englewood would be a good starting point.
What Are The Common Types Of Falling Debris?
Depending on the construction work on a site, falling debris can take many different forms, such as concrete, rock, wood, glass, drywall, asphalt, shingles, metal, and plastic. Construction workers can be injured by any material, especially if they fall from a great height.
In addition, some common falling objects at construction sites include dropped tools from other workers, such as drills, hammers, wrenches, and scraps of material left out can also fall and injure workers below.
The Dangerous Nature Of Falling Debris
Gravity contributes to the hazardous nature of falling debris. It’s an unstoppable force to keep in mind. Even a small object falling from a great height can deliver enough force to damage objects or injure a worker below.
Any falling object, material, or tool can be fatal, especially on construction sites. Falling debris can cause severe blunt-force trauma, leaving a worker out of work for months or even unable to return to work.
How Accidents Happen Due To Falling Debris
Depending on the scale of the construction project, any unforeseen event involving debris can happen and bring about injuries.
A construction site is an area bustling with workers performing various tasks. Most of these tasks include the use of power tools, large-sized equipment such as hoists and cranes, manual tools, and handling of materials, to name a few.
Some typical scenarios include falling materials from the scaffolding or lift, scattering debris that falls to workers below, or falling materials from a crane, and hitting workers on the ground.
Other common reasons why debris ends up falling from a construction site includes:
- Incorrect stacking of materials puts them at risk of toppling over.
- Negligence in securing equipment, particularly when it’s dangling from ladders, beams, or other surfaces. The tools or equipment will most likely fall and hit anyone underneath.
- A lack of sufficient safety training might cause falling debris in the workplace. One of the most crucial concerns is providing workers with proper training in building site safety procedures. The essentials are to secure tools and equipment, donning protective gear, and properly stocking materials.
- The incorrect positioning of materials on a hoist or crane might cause them to tumble. When using a hoist or crane to carry items from the ground to the upper floors of a structure, adequate securing is essential to protect workers below from falling debris.
- Surfaces unable to support heavy loads often result in falling debris. When those in charge of a specific floor in a building cannot keep track of a surface’s durability, heavy materials placed on top can endanger those below.
- Violations of safety rules can lead to workplace accidents. Everyone on a building site should closely adhere to safety regulations to ensure safety.
- Incapable of boosting warning sign visibility. The inclusion of warning or safety signs is critical to maintaining safety. Unfortunately, personnel in charge of site safety sometimes fail to display hazard signs appropriately.
Aside from injuring construction workers, potentially dangerous scenarios can also endanger passersby or motorists on the road.
What Are The Potential Dangers Of Falling Debris On Construction Sites?
Falling debris poses a serious threat to the safety of construction workers. When falling debris occurs, it has the potential to cause severe and debilitating injuries. Remember that even objects weighing only a few pounds can be lethal if dropped from a considerable height.
Some of the common injuries resulting from falling objects include:
Various Types Of Wounds And Bruises
When objects or debris fall to the ground, it can cause a variety of wounds to those unfortunate enough to be nearby. Although some injuries appear minor, such as a scrape from a tool falling from a moderate height, damage can be severe in some cases. A deep cut caused by a sharp or pointed object falling from a significant height can result in severe bleeding, infection, and other medical issues. In some situations, bruising may emerge, indicating internal damage.
Broken Bones Or Fractures And Crushed Limbs
Falling debris can cause fractures or crushed limbs in workers. When workers are on the ground, and handheld equipment falls, it may fall on an unwary worker, breaking a bone in the body depending on the afflicted area.
A seemingly small item can fall to the ground with a significant force due to gravity, potentially harming limbs and bones. The same is true for any materials handled incorrectly and have fallen out of the upper levels.
Neck And Back Injuries
Falling debris, especially from a considerable height, can cause neck and back injuries to construction workers. Regardless of the type of debris, it can cause back and neck injuries to workers underneath, especially if it has sharp edges. Remember that even a small object can inflict damage due mainly to gravity. The weight of the object or a worker attempting to move out of the way are the most common causes.
In most incidents of falling debris, the head is usually the most injured body part. A brain injury can occur when the skull is impacted due to blunt force trauma from a falling tool or other objects from an elevation. Likewise, when a piece of material, equipment, or tool falls directly on a worker’s head from a great height, the worker is in danger of suffering a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Accordingly, it would be best if you wore a hard hat or helmet, especially when inside the construction site’s premises to protect the head on any task as a safety precaution.
Paralysis And Permanent Disabilities
A worker can get paralyzed in severe circumstances of falling debris scenarios. The situation can become critical if a worker is seriously injured by falling debris. In the majority of cases, significant spinal cord damage results in paralysis. The intensity of the damage will be determined by the region affected.
Paralysis can affect the upper or lower body, even all four limbs, in some situations. Unfortunately, some people develop long-term disabilities that limit their quality of life and prevent them from working.
Unfortunately, death is also a possible result of falling debris, especially in situations involving big loads and heavy equipment.
Ways To Minimize Risk For Falling Debris Injuries
If you’re working in the construction industry, several safety measures should be in place to ensure your safety and lower the chances of workplace injuries from falling debris.
Some of the ways to minimize the risk include the following:
- Always wear the appropriate safety gear such as a helmet, hard-toe boots, goggles, reflective vests, gloves, hearing protection, long-sleeve shirts, and long work pants, to name a few.
- Watch out for areas with warning signs indicating the potential for falling objects. Make sure to steer clear of barricaded hazard areas as well.
- Avoid walking or standing in a fall zone under a hoist, crane, front loader, or any piece of heavy equipment or machinery, especially when carrying a load.
- Steer clear of walking or standing below scaffolds or ladders or any area where overhead work is ongoing since there’s a high risk for objects and materials to fall to the ground at some point.
- Make sure you use the appropriate equipment or tool for a specific task.
- When stacking materials or objects, avoid arranging them too high due to the tendency to fall over, especially in areas several floors up. Make sure to stack materials properly to prevent them from falling, sliding, or collapsing.
The construction industry is a dangerous workplace that can result in serious injuries from falling debris. Potential dangers abound in any construction site, especially large-scale projects involving several levels. When a family member sustains injuries from a falling object on a construction site, the best action is to seek legal representation at once. Working with a reliable personal injury lawyer will significantly help improve your chances of maximizing a compensation claim.