Harnesses, ropes, and other equipment protect workers from falling off scaffolds. However, another significant hazard exists when workers toil dozens or even hundreds of feet in the air: injuries from falling objects. Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements have been put in place to protect against injuries to other workers and the public. However, hazards remain when these standards are neglected. That is when a New York scaffold fall lawyer can be of assistance.
How Common Are Scaffold Falls?
Approximately two-thirds of construction workers spend at least some of their time on scaffolds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that between 2003 and 2004 4,500 fall injuries occurred among workers, with 60 fatalities. The Bureau further found that workers being hit by falling objects was one of the three leading causes of injury. OSHA addressed this problem by developing standards for scaffolding that superseded requirements in place under the Code of Federal Regulations, section 1926.451.
Workers who venture up scaffolds will generally take any equipment they need to get the job done. Hammers, saws, nails and welding equipment are among the many materials that may be taken high in the air. Heavier objects are supposed to be kept away from the edge. However, space is often at a premium on all but large scaffolds. A hammer accidentally kicked over the side can reach a speed on its way down that causes lethal damage. A handful of nails can produce a deadly shower.
What Injuries Are Most Common?
Among the more common injuries are, as one might expect, those to the head and spine. Brain injury can occur, along with damage to any part of the body which is struck. Workers below may be somewhat protected by hardhats. However, when a crew is working on a public street a passerby is unlikely to be wearing protective head gear.
How Netting Can Help
The answer to such injuries that has proved most beneficial is netting. Scaffold nets are generally constructed of polyester. Quick ties are used to secure the net to scaffold frames and building structures. Usually nets are green in color; the reason for this is unclear.
Regardless of the fact that nets reduce the risk of injury from falling objects, some construction crews fail to use them. The rush to finish a job is often a factor. Hurried workers may also neglect to check that the net is properly secured. And while the dropCommon zone beneath a scaffold is supposed to be either taped off or barricaded, this does not always occur. Moreover, a gust of wind can carry a falling object beyond the zone and onto pedestrians.
If you are injured by a falling object, and a scaffold net is not used, you may have grounds for a claim. It is important to consult with a New York scaffold fall lawyer immediately to discuss your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York personal injury accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5486) for a free and comprehensive consultation. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.