In January 2012, a construction worker in Liverpool, NY was killed when pieces of the ceiling in the office building he was remodeling fell and struck him. The building he was working in was the Snow Building, and he was doing partial demolition of the structure to make way for the improvements that would be installed later.
The New York State government tries to enforce construction safety laws, but the job is difficult. According to the
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, there are only 71 OSHA inspectors in New York City that are assigned to thousands of construction sites. It is estimated that almost 20 percent of all work-related fatalities in the State of New York involve construction incidents. With these kinds of numbers, it is easy to see why ceiling collapse is a big concern for people working construction jobs in New York State.
Not Every Cause Is Easy To Determine
According to Prugar Consulting, many ceiling collapses occur due to improper materials or an incorrect building method. While it would be convenient if all ceiling collapses could be traced back to heavy materials being placed on unfinished ceilings, the reality is much more complicated than that.
Since the New York State OSHA inspector’s office is overwhelmed and often only investigates ceiling construction after there has been work site injuries, it is up to the contractors to create a safe working environment for everyone performing construction jobs. But with one out of every five fatal work site accidents coming from construction sites, it is safe to say that contractors are unable to monitor their own projects closely enough.
Preventing Ceiling Collapses
Contractors can help prevent ceiling collapses by:
- Having construction drawings certified by an engineer before construction begins
- Assigning a safety officer to make sure that proper construction tactics are being used
- Rewarding employees who point out potential ceiling hazards
- Posting signs that remind employees of good habits that prevent ceiling accidents
While we have seen that not all ceiling collapses are the same, some of the more common causes of ceiling collapses include:
- Workers piling materials on ceilings that are too heavy for the ceiling to support
- Workers walking on ceiling panels instead of ceiling supports
- Improper materials used to build ceilings
What Should You Do If You Are Involved In A Ceiling Collapse Accident?
Any construction accident presents a series of issues that the victim should never attempt to tackle on their own. You may be offered worker’s compensation, but there could be other insurance options available that you are not informed about. Worker’s compensation can also take months to take effect, and you could be dropped from the worker’s compensation plan on a moment’s notice.
If you are involved in a ceiling collapse accident on a work site, then contact an attorney immediately. If you are seriously injured, then have your family secure a personal injury attorney for you. It is important to get the care you need to get a full recovery, but it is also extremely important to protect your rights as well.
The moments after a ceiling collapse on a construction site can seem to happen in a whirlwind. You will have insurance companies and representatives from the contracting company trying to get you to commit to settlements and sign papers. The best approach is to contact a qualified personal injury attorney and make sure that your rights are preserved, and that you get the compensation you deserve.