According to OSHA, one of the leading causes of construction workplace accidents is being struck by an object. The nature of construction activity in California construction sites can be hazardous and if a worker is not properly prepared or vigilant, someone can get hit by an object. Such accidents can result in small abrasions, but can also become very serious, with people suffering concussions or even death from an object impact.
OSHA states than an individual is at risk from falling objects if he or she steps underneath a place where overhead work is in progress. People may physically work at a high height above you, or there may be large machinery such as a crane boom that is hoisted above you, either of which can potentially drop tools or debris on you. Additionally, people in some workplaces may be at risk from flying objects. These objects can be flung at a person from the pressure or propulsion of a power tool, or from activities that pry, pull or push an object.
To minimize the risk of falling or flying objects, OSHA lays out general guidelines for workers to follow. In general, anyone working on a construction site where falling debris can occur should wear a hardhat. While operating a machine or a tool that can fling debris or objects, the worker should wear goggles, face shields, safety glasses, any kind of safety gear that is appropriate for the operation. Employees should also be qualified for the kinds of tasks they perform and should be trained to perform the tools they are to use.
When people perform overhead work, they should take precautions to prevent objects and debris from falling. Materials and tools used for overhead tasks should be secured from falling. If people work on scaffolding, catwalks, any place that is very high off the ground, guardrails, toeboards or screens can be erected to keep tools from sliding over. Sometimes workplaces employ canopies, catch platforms or debris nets to catch objects if they fall off the scaffolding.
At times the best prevention of a workplace accident is to make sure hazardous areas are clear of possible injury victims. Any area where falling objects are at risk should be barricaded off. Additionally, warning signs can be posted to mark where the risky work areas are located. These signs can ward off non-workers and anyone who is not authorized to be in a dangerous work location.
This article is intended to educate the reader on falling objects in the workplace and should not be taken as legal advice.