Construction, Personnel Safety

A Look at Struck-By Injuries in Construction

Struck-by object is one of OSHA’s Construction Focus Four topics (along with falls, electrocution, and caught-in-between), collectively the four hazards that year-to-year result in more than half the fatalities in the construction industry.

Safety and accident in construction

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For 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that contact with objects or equipment caused 761 fatalities in the entire workforce. Among the Focus Four, struck-by comprises the widest range of individual hazards, consisting of struck by a flying object, a falling object, a swinging or slipping object, or a rolling object.

  • A flying object hazard exists when something has been thrown, hurled, or propelled across space. It can include instances when a piece of material separates from a tool, machine, or other equipment, striking a worker.
  • A falling object hazard includes instances where the injured person is crushed, pinned, or caught under a falling object; this hazard does not include collapsing material or structures.
  • A swinging object hazard typically involves loads being lifted by a crane or hoist that is being improperly operated; winds can also cause a suspended load to swing.
  • A rolling object hazard includes instances in which the worker is struck or run over by a moving vehicle without being caught under it or instances in which the worker is struck by a sliding object or equipment on the same level.

Prevention

OSHA and other worker safety stakeholders recommend the following preventive practices:

  • General
    • Workers should wear the proper personal protective equipment for the work environment, such as steel-toe shoes and a hard hat.
    • Workers should only operate equipment they are properly trained to use.
    • Workers should make sure all safety devices on their equipment are in good working order before use.
  • Rolling object
    • Check vehicles before use to make sure they are in safe operating condition.
    • Always walk behind moving equipment if possible.
    • Never obstruct vision by overloading moving equipment.
    • Use extra caution around corners and near doorways.
    • When large equipment is being operated, always make eye contact with the operator before approaching.
  • Falling object
    • Securely and neatly store loose materials, particularly those in overhead locations.
    • Store heavy objects close to the floor.
    • Secure all loads and lift them evenly.
    • Entrance into areas below elevated work should be restricted with barricades.
    • Workers in elevated locations should avoid throwing tools and other materials to each other.
    • Use debris nets, catch platforms, or canopies to catch or deflect falling objects.
  • Swinging/slipping objects
    • Secure all loads and lift them evenly.
    • Do not work under loads as they are being lifted.
    • Keep a safe distance from suspended loads.
    • Inspect cranes and hoists to see that all components, such as wire rope, lifting hooks, and chains, are in good condition.
    • Do not exceed lifting capacity of cranes and hoists.
  • Flying objects
    • Inspect tools such as saws and lathes to ensure that protective guards are in good condition.
    • Wear face shields and safety spectacles or goggles to prevent injury from chips or particles ejected by equipment.

OSHA’s Construction Focus Four: Struck-By Hazards: Instructor Guide can assist employers in training employees on struck-by hazards and how to prevent injury.