In this podcast, we are going to talk about a less-known fact on construction sites in the United States – “Struck-by Accidents” are the number one cause of injuries at construction sites and the number two leading cause of death. That is a tragic loss of life that simply does not need to be.
Add to that fact that there are a couple more shocking numbers to consider; one, we have over 800 construction deaths in the United States annually and two, more than 150 of those are caused by struck-by accidents. And every one of these tragic “facts” could have been avoided with the proper training and controls set in place.
Follow along as Dan Clark covers struck-by issues. Scroll to to the bottom for OSHA struck-by videos and information.
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Dan Clark: Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
Let’s talk about the danger of “Struck-by Accidents,” when employees are struck by vehicles, struck by equipment, struck by tools or struck by supplies-on-the-move.
Here’s a sad fact: “Struck-by Accidents” are the number one cause of injuries at construction sites and the number two leading cause of death. And here’s a striking number—a couple of them—we have over 800 construction deaths in the United States annually and more than 150 of those are caused by struck-by accidents. And they could be avoided. Let’s take a look at the different types.
#1. Falling objects. Something falls from an upper level at a worksite.
#2. Flying objects. Saws and grinders can break and send parts flying. Air-pressurized tools could malfunction.
#3. Swinging or slipping objects. Tools, supplies or other things being moved pose this kind of hazard, like a pallet of bricks being moved to the top levels of a worksite. They could swing or slip.
#4. Ground-level objects. Now, these are the most common struck-by accidents. They happen really quickly, no warning, and they could be from forklifts, from cranes, other vehicles or anything happening at ground level.
Let’s take a look at how to prevent all of these struck-by accidents.
#1. With falling objects, stop the items from dropping in the first place. You secure, as best you can, all the tools, the parts, the equipment when working above ground level. Also, keep the area below clear. Partition off that area. And, also, provide hardhats and other PPE for workers on the ground.
#2. For gear, such as saws, belt sanders, pressurized air or gas, just place them so that if the device fails and something goes flying out, it will eject into a wall or protective material.
#3. The swinging or slipping objects. Use straps to tie things down so motion or wind won’t cause anything become unstable. Don’t exceed the equipment’s load or lift capacity. And keep the area clear. Use safety tape, or mark off the areas.
#4. And this could be your most important way to prevent struck-by accidents at ground level, because most workers spend most of their time at ground level, therefore most accidents happen there. It’s always good to use visual signs like do-not-cross tape and floor signs to let people know about hazards. For example, because they have so many moving parts, cranes can be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment. So, use safety supplies like tape to go around the crane’s swing radius to make sure everybody’s out of harm’s way. Forklift operators must be trained and certified. Ensure that the forklift or other vehicle has a reverse alarm when backing up, and you may even need to use another worker to signal when a vehicle is backing up.
And finally, don’t be the only person on the job site that knows about this stuff. All the workers should know about the four struck-by hazards, and how to prevent them.
Well, that’s it for this episode. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. It’s sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com.
See these OSHA videos on struck-by accidents:
OSHA also provides a handy eTool for construction at this link.