We all recognize that construction is a dangerous business. There are countless ways that someone can get hurt. One significant danger is struck-by accidents. A struck-by accident is caused when a worker is struck by an object. These types of accidents are one of the leading causes of construction injuries and deaths. According to the National Safety Council, 17,000 construction workers were hurt and 84 were killed in these accidents in 2013 alone.
Struck-by accidents can happen at any type of job site. A keen awareness of these hazards and strictly following safety procedures can prevent these accidents.
Construction workers can be struck by heavy equipment, falling debris, or unbraced walls. To prevent these hazards, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends the following for operating heavy equipment:
- Don’t backup a vehicle without a clear view behind you, and make sure the vehicle has a reverse alarm;
- Always wear protective gear;
- Thoroughly inspect all vehicles before operating; and
- Drive slowly and follow all safety procedures.
OSHA reports that being hit by a falling object is a struck-by hazard, particularly when doing overhead work, working around scaffolding, or beneath a crane. Suggested precautions include:
- Using safety precautions such as using toe boards and debris nets;
- Never work under a suspended load; and
- Always secure all items when working from heights.
For working on masonry or concrete walls, OSHA recommends:
- Make sure that walls are braced until permanent supports are in place;
- Only allow those working on the walls into the work area; and
- Only place loads on a concrete structure.
Being mindful of potential workplace hazards, combined with strict adherence to safety rules, not only keeps workers safe but helps ensure your project will be completed without a mishap.