You may have seen plastic sheeting or welding sparks falling from a half-finished building—especially if you work uptown. In fact, objects falling from NYC construction projects onto the pavement below have caused serious injuries for both pedestrians and workers on the site.

Falling Debris May Be Fatal for Construction Workers and Commuters Alike

Unlike most other injury statistics, the number of people hurt by falling construction debris in on the rise. Although there are many safeguards that are designed to prevent workers and those walking below from falling objects, some construction companies do not take proper precaution when it comes to securing:

  • Large objects. In 2007, a bucket the size of a bathtub fell from an incomplete high-rise, injuring eight people walking below.
  • Building materials. Any material used for a project has the capacity to fall, including glass window panes, rebar, steel beams, plywood, and chunks of concrete.
  • Tools. Hand tools are some of the most common items that cause injury. Due to their small size and relative heaviness, hammers, drills, torches, and other everyday tools can easily cause injury if they fall from a great height.
  • Heavy equipment. A cord is often not enough to stop a tool from plummeting to the ground. Jackhammers, power saws, and even cranes can fall onto workers and cause additional debris to scatter.
  • Scaffolding. Not only do scaffolds make it easier for paint cans, tarps, and other equipment to fall onto crowds below, they may also shed planks and piping if they are not constructed properly.
  • Secondary debris. A heavy object can cause havoc before it reaches the ground, shattering windows and knocking additional materials onto the heads of anybody walking by.

Everyone Has a Right to Be Protected From Falling Objects

While many people are tempted to blame workers for falling debris accidents, the truth is that construction companies are often to blame for these injuries. Building contractors are required to place netting around open floors, construct durable sidewalk sheds for pedestrians, and ensure that workers are trained in safety measures to keep injuries from occurring. Unfortunately, many companies sacrifice safety for speed of convenience, placing both workers and pedestrians at risk.

How can you tell if a building company is responsible for your injuries? The first thing you should do is have the accident investigated as soon as possible to find out who could be liable. Fill out the short contact form on this page to tell us what happened, and we will tell you what steps to take next.


Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer