A man died at a New Jersey construction site after a tape measure fell 50 stories and hit him on the head. Gary Anderson, 58, was killed while delivering drywall to a high-rise construction site in Jersey City, FOX News reported (11.4.14).
The 1-pound measuring tape became dislodged from a worker’s belt on the 50th floor and struck a piece of construction equipment about 10 to 15 feet above the ground. It then ricocheted and struck Anderson who had just stopped to speak with another worker.
Anderson was not wearing a hard hat at the time he was struck, said the New York Post (11.3.14). He was taken to the hospital where he died.
Anderson’s death may have been prevented if he had been wearing a hard hat.
A former construction worker told the tabloid: “You don’t work in this environment without a hard hat.”
“He paid the price,” the worker added. “You gotta have it.”
However, a hard hat provides only so much protection when an object drops from a height.The tape measure would have been falling at nearly 140 mph when it hit the piece of construction metal, City College professor Robert Alfano told the Post.
Bricks, metal pipes, tree branches, wall panels and debris are some of the other objects that may fall and strike a worker. An object can fall off a roof, a shelf or a piece of machinery. There are many possible unfortunate scenarios and actual situations where being struck by a falling object has resulted in a workplace death.
Because falling objects are so dangerous, New York State has a special law, Labor Law section 240, which specifically gives construction workers who are victims of falling objects an easy-to-prove lawsuit claim against the contractor, owner or agent responsible for the site, as well as others. Under the law, construction workers who are injured in gravity related accidents may be entitled to financial compensation. Objects fall at construction sites for many reasons, but usually some negligence, carelessness or failure to follow rules is a cause of the accident. Gravity does not work by itself – it needs to be helped by someone.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was investigating the accident, Fox News reported.
In 2013, 11% of fatal work injuries were caused by an individual being struck by an object or piece of equipment, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The Fox News story cited is “Tape measure falls 50 stories, killing man at construction site.”