Gravity-related incidents are a leading cause of injury at construction sites. Most people recognize that construction workers are at elevated risk of a fall from a significant height when compared with most other workers. Falls are a leading cause of severe worker injury and death at construction sites.
However, falls are not the only situation in which gravity could cause injuries to construction workers. Falling tools and materials are a safety concern for construction professionals and anyone near a construction site.
Federal standards require careful practices
The possibility that bricks, plates of glass or heavy tools could tumble down from multiple stories above is a major safety issue at any construction site. The risk is so significant that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces a regulation related to this risk.
Specifically, construction companies have an obligation to properly secure everything from tools to building materials when not in active use. The failure to do so may open a construction firm up to liability if people end up hurt. Sometimes, building owners can also be liable for such incidents under New York’s unique labor laws.
Injured construction workers typically pursue workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt by falling materials on the job. However, in some cases, they may have a claim against a third party, such as when scaffolding or tethers used on a construction site fail due to design or material defects.
Additionally, passers-by hurt by falling items may have the right to hold a construction company or building owner responsible for injuries caused by unsecured tools or materials. Recognizing what factors contribute to construction site injuries may help both professionals and members of the general public limit personal risk.