If you accidentally struck your thumb while hammering in a nail, you would probably think that the injury was your own fault. But what if the hammer hit something—or someone—else? Imagine that the hammer struck a pane of glass, raining glass shards onto your coworkers below. Are you at fault for their injuries, or is your employer to blame for not properly securing the area?
How Construction Workers Can Prevent Flying Debris Injuries
Many construction workers have seen firsthand how flying debris can cause a wide range of injuries, from cuts and scrapes, to blindness, head injuries—and even death. In order to prevent as many of these injuries as possible, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that all construction workers take the following precautions:
- Protective items. All workers should be provided with industry-standard hardhats and the use of safety glasses or face shields if machines may cause flying particles. Contractors should also ensure that toe boards, debris nets, and other protective measures are installed to prevent objects from falling onto the workers below.
- Overhead work. If employees are working on scaffolds or on a higher level than their coworkers, tools and building materials should be secured to prevent them from falling. Hazard areas should be barricaded and marked with warning signs, and scaffolds should be properly constructed with catch platforms or canopies.
- Cranes and hoists. Employees should avoid working underneath loads being moved by cranes or hoists whenever possible, and workers should never load more than the maximum weight capacity of any lifting machinery. Employers should also regularly inspect cranes to ensure that wires, hooks, chains, and all other components are in good condition.
- Training. It is the employer’s duty to adequately train all workers in the proper way to push, pull, pry, stack, and secure materials in order to prevent objects from becoming airborne. Employers must also inspect all machinery to make sure it is functioning properly and that all protective guards are in place.
Did your employer’s negligence play a role in your accident? Click the link on this page to read through a copy of our book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.