According to OSHA.gov, in 2016, almost 4700 workers died due to a work-related accident. Of those workers, approximately 21 percent were in the construction industry. More than half of the workers who died in a construction-related accident died as a result of one of the Fatal Four: a fall, struck by an object, an electrocution, or caught-in/between. This article will focus on struck-by accidents which accounted for around 9% of those fatalities. As always, feel free to consult with a Michigan OSHA attorney if you have any OSHA-related concerns.
What Are Struck-By Hazards?
Struck-by hazards are the most prevalent in the construction industry. When an object is propelled, thrown, or hurled into the air, their ability to strike a worker could cause a serious injury or death. Struck-by hazards fall into four categories:
Fall accidents occur when any elevated object, including materials, machinery, hand tools, or dropped loads from machinery, falls onto a worker or pedestrian at a lower level injuring or killing the person. Protect workers by enforcing the use of protective equipment, using the proper administrative controls, giving warnings verbally and with signage, securing loads, and keeping the jobsite clean and organized.
Flying object accidents occur when an object is thrown or thrust and strikes a person. Nail gun accidents are one of the most common struck-by hazards. Protect workers by ensuring they are a safe distance away from other workers who are using tools that could create flying object hazards. Also, inspect tools and ensure guards are in place, use protective gear such as safety goggles and hard hats.
Workers are injured by swinging objects that are attached to equipment that is lifting materials. If the object sways or turns, an unsuspecting worker may be struck. Loads should be rigged properly and operators must avoid using certain equipment when workers are present. Workers must stay a safe distance away from the swing radius and ensure that the equipment operator can see them at all times.
When heavy equipment is in operation, workers are at risk of being struck by an object that can roll or slide. Equipment operators have limited visibility at times; therefore, it is imperative that other workers are aware of equipment in operation and avoid those areas. Equipment operators must also be properly trained to safely operate machinery and avoid operating in reverse without a method of signaling other workers that it is safe.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.