Struck-by accidents are a common cause of injuries. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, struck-by accidents are the #1 cause of nonfatal injuries and the #2 cause of fatal accidents for construction workers. In total, these accidents cost nearly $2 billion a year for workers’ compensation benefits, and they cause billions more in lost income for contractors.
Below, our Syracuse construction accident lawyers identify some of the leading causes of struck by accidents. If you were hurt in this type of accident, an attorney at Powers & Santola, LLP, will be happy to review the surrounding circumstances and offer legal advice.
Construction sites have motor vehicles entering and exiting them at all hours of the day. Some of the most common vehicles include:
- Dump trucks
- Concrete mixers
These accidents occur for many reasons. Some construction sites tend to be hectic, with an overload of people running around. A trucker might never see a worker step in front of them. But other accidents are caused by driver error or carelessness. A trucker might fail to use their mirrors or reduce their speed. They could also make a mistake due to fatigue or intoxication.
Tools and materials fall all the time at construction sites. Consequently, hardhats are standard protective equipment on most sites. Some of the most common falling objects include:
- Nail guns
Falling objects are very dangerous. Even small objects can become deadly if they fall from a great height. Workers can suffer traumatic brain injuries, fractures, neck injuries, and back injuries.
Even construction workers can fall when they slip while working on a higher level. Fall restraint devices might be missing or inadequate at the site. When workers tumble to the ground, they can land on a coworker and cause devastating injuries, including organ damage.
This is another common struck-by accident. A worker using a nail gun could misfire and end up striking themselves or someone else. Injuries include nerve damage, puncture wounds, infection, and scarring. Injuries could be more serious depending on where the nail strikes.
Flying Materials or Debris
Workers can get struck by sheet metal, gravel, lumber, or any material or debris on the construction site. Wind blowing through the job site can move materials that are not anchored properly. Other debris can come flying out of the back of dump trucks, especially when they don’t use a tarp to keep everything contained in the box.
Flying materials could cause devastating injuries. Any material with a sharp edge could lead to fatal lacerations, permanent nerve damage, or paralysis.
How to Prevent Struck-By Accidents
There are certain steps workers and contractors can take to ensure the safety of their crews. For example, the CDC recommends the following:
- Avoid working under a load. It could fall and then crush or injure a worker.
- Use sequential triggers on nail guns.
- Properly secure loads before lifting them.
- Secure materials not in use, such as with tarps.
- Tether small tools to a workers’ belt, which will prevent them from falling.
- Inspect tools and equipment before very use.
- Employ adequate training for workers on how to safely use tools and equipment.
- Wear protective gear, such as goggles and hard hats at the construction site.
- Exercise awareness and caution around motor vehicles.
These tips, if properly implemented, could reduce the number of struck-by accidents that occur in Syracuse each year.
You Can Receive Compensation for Struck-By Accidents
What happens if you are hurt on the job in a struck-by incident? Helpfully, New York law allows you to receive compensation. For example, you should qualify for workers’ compensation if you were hurt while working.
You might also bring a lawsuit under the New York Labor Law if your employer was negligent. Many workers injured by a falling object can sue for safety lapses which led to their injuries. If you can bring this type of lawsuit, you can sue your employer, which is otherwise prohibited by workers’ compensation rules.
You might also have a valid claim against an equipment manufacturer. For example, a defective hard hat might have failed to protect you from a falling object. You can blame them in part for your injuries because they sold a defectively designed or manufactured hat.
Contact Our Syracuse Construction Accident Lawyer
Struck-by accidents are among the most serious that workers suffer on the job. As soon as you receive medical care and are stable, reach out to our law firm to discuss your legal rights to compensation.