Danger of Dropped Objects

November 30, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more than 50,000 workers are injured or killed in struck by falling object accidents in the U.S. each year. Many are aware of the importance of fall protection for workers, but the importance of fall protection for objects has been relatively overlooked.

Fall from Heights Accidents

Fall protection once again tops the list of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations in 2018. According to OSHA, falls from heights is the leading cause of death in the construction industry and continues to be one of the “fatal four” causes of construction worker deaths. Construction workers often work on multi-level buildings, ladders and scaffolding at elevations of six feet or higher, putting them at greater risk of death from a fall.

To raise awareness and prevent workplace falls from heights, OHSA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) created the Fall Prevention Campaign. OSHA’s fall protection requirements vary according to industry, but generally employers are required to provide employees with safety harnesses, fall arrest systems, guardrails and other personal protective equipment (PPE). Employers are also required to develop and implement fall protection programs, provide training and educate workers about fall hazards.

Struck by Object Accidents

While it is important to be aware of fall from heights accidents, workers and employers should also be aware of another “fatal four” cause of construction worker deaths and the cause of thousands of workplace accidents each year – struck by object accidents. The danger of dropped objects increases according to the weight of the object as well as the height from which the object is dropped. Objects dropped from greater heights achieve greater velocity and therefore exert more force on the ground or the person with which they come in contact.

Workers who are at risk of being hit by a falling object must comply with various OSHA regulations, including securing tools and materials, barricading hazard areas and posting signs and using debris nets, catch platforms or canopies. The director of fall protection for tools at Capital Safety, a manufacturer of fall protection equipment, suggests that tools should be better secured to prevent them from falling. He gives several recommendations including that tools over five pounds be secured to a fixed structure or site-approved anchor point.

Injuries Caused by Dropped Objects

Objects that are not properly secured may fall and hit workers, causing injuries of varying severity. The BLS reports that in 2015, most construction workers were injured by building materials, metal, pipes, ducts and wood. Some common injuries resulting from dropped object accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruising
  • Concussions
  • Internal injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Reading Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers Injured by Dropped Objects

If you were injured by a dropped object in the workplace, contact a Reading workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled. To discuss your case, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW to arrange a free consultation.

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