Many people have heard the myth about a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building falling with enough force to kill someone standing below.
This assertion has been debunked by Scientific American, which reports a penny would cause neither serious injury or death because it is “too small and flat to become a dangerous projectile.”
But, there are plenty of other falling objects that are potentially deadly.
Workers on construction sites face a tremendous risk of a falling object. A Boston work injury lawyer knows wearing a hard hat and following other safety precautions set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can help to reduce the chances of a deadly incident occurring.
Sometimes, however, an object can fall from too far up or can fall onto an unprepared worker and the outcome may be tragic.
Worker Killed by Falling Tape Measure
Safety News Alert recently reported on a tragic incident in which a tape measure fell off the belt of a construction worker who was working up high on the top of a tower. The tape measure struck a piece of metal equipment as it fell down from the top of the tower. It subsequently hit a worker who was on the ground in the head. The worker hit by the tape measure was taken to the hospital, but he died a short time later from his injuries.
The worker arrived at the construction site in order to deliver wall board. He had just gotten out of his vehicle when he was struck by the tape measure in the head. He did not have a hard hat on at the time of the incident. The tape measure weighed just one pound, but it had fallen approximately 400 feet.
Unlike a penny, which would simply flutter to the ground because it is small and flat, a tape measure is large enough to become very dangerous when dropped from a substantial height. Collisions with air molecules will cause a falling penny to slow down and flutter to the ground instead of falling rapidly. The faster the penny starts to fall down, the greater the air resistance becomes. This means that once the penny reaches a maximum velocity, the force of the fall is cancelled out by the air resistance.
The tape measure, on the other hand, is not flat and thus does not experience as much air resistance as the penny. The tape measure will reach a terminal velocity closer to the ground because it is not as light and does not take as much drag to counteract its weight. The tape measure will accelerate rapidly as it moves towards the ground and it can thus do serious damage to a person’s skull, as this tragic incident shows. The dangers of a falling tape measure are apparent, and one construction worker says that “a tape measure is like a gun at a construction site. Like a police officer, you don’t pull it out unless you’re going to use it.”
If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
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Man Electrocuted in Construction Site Accident, August 25, 2014, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog