Struck-by and Caught-Between Hazards

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This month’s safety topic relates to Struck-By and Caught-Between Hazards.  Struck-by accidents occur when a person is hit by a moving object. On construction sites this can include being hit on the head by a falling hammer or tool, hit by particles being thrown from a grinder or sand-blasting, hit by a truck that's backing up, or hit by hoisted or moving pipe.

Struck-by accidents are one of the four top causes of fatalities in construction work, and can result in serious injuries as well. But they don't have to happen!

Struck-by injuries are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and the second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers, costing over $1.7 billion in workers compensation costs in 2016. These injuries occur when a worker is struck by a moving vehicle, equipment, or by a falling or flying object. For construction workers, the risk of nonfatal struck-by injuries is twice the risk of all other industries combined, and construction workers have the highest number of fatal struck-by injuries compared to any other industry. Employers and employees can work together to raise awareness and prevent struck-by injuries.

Which Struck-by Events Most Commonly Cause Nonfatal Injury?

Compared to all other industries, construction workers have the highest rate of nonfatal struck-by injuries at 2.7 per 10,000 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) workers. The most common sources of nonfatal struck-by injuries involved solid building materials, powered and nonpowered hand tools, and scrap/waste/debris. The rate of nonfatal struck-by injuries is highest among helpers, sheet metal workers, heating and air conditioning mechanics, and ironworkers (see Figure 1). Most nonfatal struck-by injuries (96%) are caused by falling or flying objects, or equipment. The most common events leading to a non-fatal injury include being struck by handheld objects or equipment (36%), falling objects or equipment (29%), and discharged or flying objects (14%).

Figure 1. Number and rate of nonfatal injuries from being struck by object or equipment, selected construction occupations, 2015

Which Struck-by Events Most Commonly Cause Fatal Injury?
Fatal struck-by injuries occur when a motor vehicle intrudes into a work zone or when construction vehicles and heavy equipment operate within a work zone. About half of fatal struck-by injuries were caused by a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle (384 fatalities or 48%, see Figure 2). In comparison to nonfatal injuries, about half of the non-work zone fatalities involve a falling object or equipment (51%) and 33% involve a powered vehicle not in transport (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Fatal struck-by injuries in construction, struck by a vehicle versus struck by an object or equipment, sum of 2011-2015

The construction workers building our nation’s highways and roads experience more of these tragic fatalities compared to other construction subsectors. About 1 in 10 construction worker fatalities are from work zone injuries. Of these work zone injuries, about half (50%) involve a pedestrian-vehicle incident, 13% are roadway incidents involving a motorized vehicle, and 10% involve an object or equipment. Construction crossing guards and paving/surfacing equipment operators had the highest rates of fatalities per 100,000 FTEs compared to all other Construction occupations.

What Can Employers and Workers Do to Prevent Struck-by Injuries?
Both employers and workers are responsible to do their part in reducing struck-by injuries. Scheduling pressures and lack of training can create barriers to focusing on prevention efforts. Employers / Clients can still participate by requiring daily JSA meetings, and specific hazard talking points to raise awareness, which are effective methods to educate fellow workers about struck-by injuries. Additionally employers and clients should actually review JSA meeting documents to identify leading indicators of prior Near Miss issues. Also, don’t forget about new and inexperienced workers on the jobsite, they too need your help to learn the hazards that exist around them daily. Help them by being a mentor and safety advocate to educate each person. We all started as inexperienced workers ourselves.

OSHA offers training modules to reduce struck-by injuries as part of the Focus Four Fatal Injuries in construction. This training provides focused information and case studies of real-life fatalities, along with the relevant OSHA regulations on the four worst hazards that construction workers face: falls, struck-by, caught-in/between and electrocutions. Also, your own Learning Management System have safety courses on each topic and many others.

Use the following best practices to reduce the risk of struck-by / caught-between injuries due to equipment and falling or flying objects:

  • Fatigue Management and Heat Stress
    • Ensure employees are not impacted by these issues before starting work.
    • JSA meetings are a perfect time to evaluate an employee’s Fit For Duty status.
  •     Ensure comprehensive training, including safe operation of power tools and equipment, and encourage earning appropriate certifications.
  • Tether smaller tools to work belts to prevent dropped objects.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear (safety glasses, hardhat, face shields, etc.).
  • Use barricades, spotters and exercise caution when working near heavy equipment.
  • Inspect all tools and equipment before use.
  • Utilize manufacturer safety devices on equipment, do not remove.
  • Never work under a load, especially during lifting activities or any elevated load.
  • Secure / rigging all loads properly and lift evenly to prevent slipping.
  • Increase the visibility of workers (ex. Safety vests, distancing from equipment, etc.) and equipment.
  • Use positive barriers between workers and traffic. Use proper flagging equipment and practices.
  • Employ prevention methods using vehicle technologies such as
    • Driver warning systems
    • Worker warning systems
    • Speed reduction systems
    • Rollover protection structures
    • Seatbelts
  • Raise awareness by training workers and hoding regular toolbox talks on struck-by injury preventi

Let’s identify some examples of everyday hazards:

  • Struck-By Flying Object Hazards
    • Grinder debris
    • Sand Blasting material
    • Parts and debris from rupture during hydrotesting
    • Parts and debris from pigging activities
  • Struck-By Falling Objects
    • Tools being used overhead
    • Tools being thrown in a congested work zone
    • Rocks and soil from unstable / unsafe excavation
  • Struck-By Swinging Object Hazards
    • Trac hoe bucket during back filling
    • Elevated pipe movement
  • Struck-By Moving Equipment
    • Backing equipment (Vehicles, equipment, etc.)
    • Idle and then moving equipment
  • Struck-By Rolling Object Hazards
    • Pipe falling / rolling from skids
    • Crushing hazard from rolling pipe
  • Struck-By Miscellaneous Objects
    • Tree limbs to the face while mowing or walking
    • Unguarded Machinery
  • Caught-Betweena
    • Between Pipe and Pipe
    • Between Equipment and Fixed Object
  • Caught-In
    • Excavation Cave-In
    • Being pulled into machinery (Ex. Trencher moving which employee reaches into area to remove rock or debris)
    • Machinery / PTO’s
  • PPE Hazards (Or lack of PPE)
    • Always wear your hard hat & safety glasses (and other PPE) while in work zone. At all times.
    • Be aware of hazardous atmosphere in work area. H2S or other hazards. Be able to don SCBA or other PPE.
    • Chemical hazards. Have proper gloves and other protection to eliminate exposure risks.

These are just a few of the risks that are in our everyday work environments. There are many more; remain situationally aware and watch out for your fellow worker also.

Often we observe and have indicators to potential future issues, also known as Leading Indicators or Near Miss observations. Capturing this valuable information and responding to it helps prevent possible injury to yourself and or your fellow worker. Each monthly Newsletter provides an opportunity to enter a Near Miss observation, or you may enter a Near Miss at any time via the Safety Portal or the Safety Learning Management System (LMS). Each entry provides a chance to win a monthly prize. The Safety Director will review submitted entries and award several prizes, the winners will be notified about their award category. Don’t forget to enter one or more Near Miss entries each month not only to win, but also to help with identifying potential future issues. Please note, if you are aware of a significate and or urgent safety concern, please contact your Safety Director immediately who can assist in mitigating the hazards. Thank you.

It’s Your Turn!

Review and share this topic during your next JSA or Safety Meeting to help prevent Struck-by / Caught-In and Caught-Between Injuries in Construction and mark your calendars for next year’s Struck-By Safety Stand-down in April 2022.

Sun Safety

Summer is here and we love the sun! While spending time outside is a great way to be physically active, reduce stress and get vitamin D, we also need to protect our skin from the harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the sun without resulting in short-term and long-term skin damage.

The Whys:

Skin cancer – Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. In the U.S. more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour. (Skin Cancer Foundation) Melanoma Skin Cancer accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.

Premature aging – This is a photo of a truck driver. This photo shows the damage accumulated after 28 years of driving. Left side of photo shows normal aging. Right side of photo shows the side exposed to sun.

Burning and blistering of the skin - Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma.

Cataracts and eye damage - particularly ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light, can cause significant damage to the eye over time if not guarded against.
Common Types of UV-Related Eye Injuries: Cataracts, Macular Degeneration, Pterygium, Keratitis and skin cancers of the Eyelids.

Immune system suppression caused by an over exposure to UV radiation - Scientists have found that overexposure to UV radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses. For example, the skin normally mounts a defense against foreign invaders such as cancers and infections. But overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the immune system, reducing the skin’s ability to protect against these invaders. (EPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency)

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun:

Sunscreen –Put on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher 20 minutes before you go outside. Reapply every 2 hours when staying out in the sun.

Sunglasses - Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Let us take these simple steps for our health and have a wonderful SUNmer!

CONGRATS!!! Chris Rowland has been selected as our Safety Employee of the Month. We wanted to thank Chris Rowland for always putting safety first and submitting his near miss reports along with completing his safety modules.

Interview Questions:

Why is Safety so important to you?

Chris: Safety is important to me because in this business it could be the difference between life and death. Safety rules are put in place to ensure we make it home to our families. Safety procedures and processes are developed not only to minimize risk but to maximize output at the same time while keeping you alert to changing conditions or circumstances.

Why do you think submitting Near Miss reports is important?

Chris: Submitting near miss reports benefits everyone involved. It is a important tool that is shared to raise awareness and make corrections as needed. Near miss reports can even influence policies or lead to more controls for not only personal safety, but industry safety standards as well.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered up with Boot Barn to offer all Applied Consultants inspectors a 15% discount on all purchases “work related” from the Boot Barn, Nation Wide. Be sure to tell them you work for Applied Consultants and use the key word: “Safety First” to receive the discount. 

June Winners

Platinum     Jason Horton
Gold     Mike House
Silver     Christopher Rowland
Bronze  John Baeskens
Bronze     Jesse Maldonado Jr
Bronze     Alejandro Chavira

If you have been selected as newsletter Q&A winner, please click this link and select your prize(s) from your winning category.

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Applied Consultants, Inc. is always seeking new talent to join our staff of professionals. If you wish to join our team, please email us your resume along with an application letter, we will contact you.


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