Struck by injuries are caused by forcible impact or contact between a person and an object or piece of equipment. There are 8.4% deaths each year by these types of injuries. It is the third leading cause of death in construction. In construction, there must be a distinction between struck by injuries and caught between injuries. When the injury is caused by an object alone, it is a struck by injury. If the injury is caused by being crushed between two objects, it is a caught between injury. There are four types of struck by hazards: Struck-by flying object, Struck-by falling object, Struck-by swinging object, and Struck-by rolling object.
Flying object hazard exists when something has been thrown, hurled, or is being propelled across space. These can include materials that separate from tools, machines, or other equipment that strike someone and result in injury or fatality. Using compressed air is one cause for flying object hazards.
When something falls from an elevation to a lower level, it becomes a falling object hazard. These injuries occur often in construction when employees work at elevated levels and drop tools or other objects that hit someone below them. To prevent injuries or fatalities, you should wear personal protective gear such as hard hats. Equipment falling over also qualifies in this category.
Stuck-by swinging objects hazards are possible when materials are mechanically lifted and have the potential to swing and strike workers. Materials may swing, twist or turn as the load is lifted and can catch workers by surprise. Windy conditions are especially hazardous since it will cause loads to swing more. The severity of injuries will depend on where the worker is when he is hit by a load, such as if an employee is standing on another level and is knocked off to a lower level. Loads may also slip from their riggings and hit workers below it. Loads must be rigged properly to avoid slippage.
Struck-by rolling object is when an object which is rolling, moving, or sliding on the same level at which the worker is located. Instances of these are moving vehicles and equipment.
So how do you protect yourself from these hazards? Here are some tips:
- Stay away from heavy equipment when it’s operating.
- Stay clear of lifted lads and never work under a suspended load.
- Beware of unbalanced loads.
- Workers should confirm and receive acknowledgement that they are visible from the heavy equipment operator.
- Be aware of the wing radius of cranes and backhoes and do not enter that zone.
- Drive equipment on grades or roadways that are safely constructed and maintained.
- Make sure that all workers and other personnel are in the clear before using dumping or lifting devices.
- Lower or block bulldozer and scraper blades, end-loader buckets, dump bodies, etc., when not in use and leave all controls in neutral position.
- Haulage vehicles that are loaded by cranes, power shovels, loaders etc., must have a cab shield or canopy that protects the driver from falling materials.
- Do not exceed a vehicle’s rate load or lift capacity.
- Workers should wear seat belts when provided.
- Check vehicles before each shift to assure that all parts and accessories are in safe operating condition.
- Do not drive a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view unless another worker signals that it is safe.
- Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked, and chock the wheels if they are on an incline.
- All vehicles must have adequate braking systems and other safety devices.
- Use traffic signs, barricades or flaggers when construction takes place near public roadways.
- Workers must be highly visible in all levels of light at all times.
- When working on a construction zone, wear high visibility reflective clothing.
- Do not put yourself at risk of being struck by a vehicle and do not get caught in a situation where there’s no escape route.
- Do not direct traffic unless you are the flagger.
- Check that necessary warning signs are posted
- Never cross the path of a backing vehicle
- Follow “exit” and “entry” worksite traffic plans.
- When working with compressed air, reduce air pressure to 30 psi if used for cleaning, and use only with appropriate guarding and proper protective equipment.
- When working with hand tools, do not use tools with loose, cracked or splintered handles; and do not use impact tools with mushroomed heads.
- When working with machines, be sure to be trained on safe operation of machinery and inspect machinery. Ensure all guards are in place and protect feet, eyes, ears, and hands.
- When working with powder-actuated tools, be sure to be trained and licensed to operate these tools if required.
- When working with power tools, be sure to be trained on how to safely use them and operate according to manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect tools before each use and wear safety googles.
- When pushing or pulling objects that may become airborne, stack and secure materials to prevent sliding, falling, or collapse and secure material against wind gusts.
Employers should provide assessment of heavy equipment and motor vehicles to make sure they are safe to use, make sure the tools their employees use are safe, and provide personal protection equipment and training for their employees. Some businesses are too small to hire a full time safety officer and that is where our company comes in. we can come to smaller companies and provide the training their employees need for less than the cost of hiring someone full time to do the training. If you believe your business would benefit from our services, do not hesitate to call.