Fact Sheet

Struck by Falling Objects

Data obtained from emergency department records of United States 24-hour emergency departments indicate that an estimated 70,000 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses treated in emergency departments in 1999 resulted in hospitalization. Contact with objects and equipment (37 percent), i.e., struck by falling or hand-held objects, was the leading cause of injuries requiring hospitalization.

In addition to head injuries, Canadian studies on foot injuries indicated that the percentage of impacts to the foot [from falling objects] were as follows: toe, 25; metatarsal, 13; sole, 6; ankle, 32; and heel, 6. The addition of sole protection and increased use of safety footwear resulted in a decrease in the frequency of foot injuries.

Recommendations

Volunteers and staff should be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment at all times when working on a construction or building repair project, to minimize injuries from falling objects. PPE includes hardhats, safety glasses, and safety footwear (as well respirators, hearing protection, protective clothing). Tips from the “Scaffolding” and “Ladders” section also help prevent injuries from falling objects.

Resources

Workplace Safety and Health Topics, NIOSH

Personal Protective Equipment Safety Checklist