Construction workers rely on a constant flow of building materials in order to do their jobs, and unfortunately, employees are often injured while loading and unloading these supplies. From the shifting of materials in transit to objects falling during unloading, moving and storage is a common cause of construction injuries and fatalities—and workers may be owed compensation for these accidents.
Construction Injuries Caused by Improper Loading, Unloading, and Storage
Hazardous materials and heavy equipment must be stored adequately while not in use, and must be transported in a way that will prevent injury to workers and passers-by. If items are not properly secured at all stages, they may shift, fall, or break free, causing a variety of injuries including:
- Head and back trauma. Steel beams, pipes, lumber, drums, bricks, and other falling objects can cause devastating injuries if they are not properly secured.
- Hand and finger injuries. Workers may suffer crush injuries to their limbs if a line breaks or their hands are caught in pinch points while moving heavy objects.
- Eye injuries. Unsecured loads of nails, sand, or gravel may split and pour over workers, sending hazardous particles into unprotected eyes.
- Foot fractures. Even a single loose brick can be dangerous if it strikes a worker’s foot, causing toe and metatarsal fractures that can put him out of work for weeks.
- Vehicle injuries. Many accidents result from a sudden unfastening of chains or securing straps around logs, pallets, and other loads on truck beds. In addition, injuries may occur if trucks and forklifts are not parked during loading and unloading, while trailers may move or slide downhill if they are not secured with wheel chocks.
- Electrocution. Improper loading of cranes and boom trucks can cause loads or equipment to make contact with power lines, resulting in electrocution or severe electrical shocks.
- Death. Many fatalities result from a worker being trapped between a stationary object and an unsecured load, causing crush injuries or suffocation.
Loading and Unloading Injuries May Be the Result of an Unsafe Workplace
There are many reasons employees are injured during the handling and storing of materials, but nearly all of them can be traced to negligence. New York has specific laws that allow injured construction workers to sue owners and contractors for accidents caused by unsafe work sites, so employees should seek the advice of an attorney to determine if they may be owed compensation.
Employees injured in loading and storage activities may be able to file a lawsuit if the accident was due to:
- Insufficient straps and supports. The straps and vertical supports used to secure a load must be approved for the type and weight of material transported, and should be appropriate for use on trucks, forklifts, or cranes properly.
- Improper procedures. The employee’s coworkers must adhere to safe procedures for raising, lowering, stacking, securing, and transferring different types of construction materials, including ensuring that the path of travel is clear.
- Inadequate training. Property owners and contractors may be liable if an employee is injured because he did not receive proper training on loading and unloading procedures.
- Failure to install barriers. Contractors who are eager to complete a job quickly may neglect to follow safe work practices, such as failing to cover gaps, install physical barriers, or level ground that poses a fall hazard to workers carrying loads.
- Equipment defects. Manufacturers can be held liable when the sudden failure of their products causes injury, such as a maker of defective safety straps or transport companies using broken or rotting pallets.
If you were injured while working on a New York City construction site, you may be able to file an injury lawsuit in addition to collecting workers’ compensation. Our attorneys can examine the facts of your case, perform a thorough investigation, and work to get you the compensation you deserve for your injury. Fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with an injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today.