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Watch Out: Tips to Prevent Struck-By Injuries

Julie Copeland

Posted by
CEO


OSHA previously identified the four most dangerous job site hazards for construction workers and they are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects and being caught in/between hazards. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for 58% of all fatalities on construction sites in 2014.

For this blog post, we’d like to zero in on struck-by injuries, which include objects that are falling, flying, swinging or rolling. In any of these scenarios, a worker is stripped of their ability to see these objects coming towards them with enough time to react and move out of the way. Struck-by injuries are the second highest cause of fatalities among construction workers.

We’ve broke down struck-by hazards into their four respective categories below -- each detailing sample scenarios of how these struck-by injuries occur and advice on how to prevent them from happening on your construction site or facility.

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1) Struck-By Flying Object Hazards

Flying object hazards exist when something has been hurled, thrown or is being propelled across space. It can include instances when a piece of material separates from a tool, machine or other equipment, striking a worker, resulting in injury or fatality. 

Sample scenarios:

  • Accidental nail gun discharges
  • Thrown tools or debris
  • Tip flying off a saw blade
  • Blast of compressed air 

Prevention tactics:

  • Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face shield when using power tools
  • Inspect power tools to insure protective guards are in good condition
  • Steer clear of the line-of-sight when a nail gun is being used

2) Struck-By Falling Object Hazards

Falling hazards include falling from an elevation to a lower level or being struck by a falling object or equipment. This can cause the injured person to be crushed, pinned or caught under a falling object.

Sample scenarios:

  • Tools/materials knocked off unprotected edges
  • Suspended load coming loose

Prevention tactics:

  • Avoid areas where work is being performed above
  • Secure tools and materials using toeboards, screens and debris nets
  • Do not exceed lifting capacity of cranes and hoists
  • Wear a hard hat at all times on a construction site 

3) Struck-By Swinging Object Hazards

When materials are mechnically lifted they have the potential to swing and strike workers. As the load is lifted, the material may swing, twist or turn and the movement can catch workers by surprise. They can be hit by the swinging load and may also fall to another level after being struck.

Sample scenarios:

  • Materials being lifted and the load sways
  • Worker inside the radius of a crane

Prevention tactics:

  • Never position yourself under a suspended load
  • Stay well outside the swing radius
  • Verify that the heavy equipment operator sees you

4) Struck-By Rolling Object Hazards

Struck-by rolling object is when an object which is rolling, moving, or sliding hits a worker. This includes instances in which a worker is struck or run over by a moving vehilcle or instances where a worker is struck-by sliding object or equipment.

Sample scenarios:

  • Vehicle or heavy equipment while in motion
  • Any object that rolls, moves or slides on same level as worker 

Prevention tactics:

  • Steer clear of vehicles and heavy equipment in use
  • Train operators of heavy equipment
  • Stack materials of same size to prevent sliding, falling or collapse

Struck-by hazards are an unfortunate reality on construction sites today. It is important to follow the steps outlined above while performing the proper training and providing the right equipment for your employees. 

Beyond these efforts you should also ensure your facility is compliant with federal and state regulations. Schedule a site assessment today to make sure you are in compliance and that your facility is safe.

Have a Safe Day!

Topics: Workplace Safety Trends in Construction, struck by injuries, construction safety, struck by hazards

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