Being caught in machinery or between objects on a worksite is one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) top four causes of construction workers’ deaths. These accidents occur when workers become trapped in heavy machinery or are crushed between objects or under a collapsing building. In addition to dying from these accidents, construction workers suffer life-altering injuries—traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and amputations are a few. Because of the dangers to workers, OSHA has developed rules that employers must follow that could prevent many of these needless accidents.
Did Your Employer’s Failure to Follow These Rules Cause Your Injuries?
Caught-in and caught-between objects accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Essential steps employers in construction should take to prevent them from happening include:
- Use guards on tools. Power tools and other equipment with exposed moving parts must be fitted with guards—the plastic part that covers the blade, for example—to stop needless amputations of body parts and other workers’ injuries.
- Secure equipment. Any equipment that has parts workers could get caught between should have a system to prevent the equipment from accidentally being turned on when it is being repaired or maintained.
- Use rollover protection on machinery. Heavy machinery like forklifts and cranes need to be equipped with rollover protection to prevent tipping and should have seat belts to protect workers if an accident occurs. Cranes can easily tip if they are overloaded, so having a competent employee check for this and other hazards is also required to avoid these dangerous accidents.
- Support trenches. Any trenches that are between 5 and 20 feet deep must be supported by sloping, benching, a trench box or shield, or shoring. Deeper trenches must be designed by an engineer to protect workers. In addition, employees must have a safe way to get in and out of the trench, and measures must be taken to avoid objects or heavy equipment from falling into the trench onto unsuspecting workers.
- Provide scaffold support. Because of the serious dangers of a scaffold collapsing, they can only be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered under the supervision of a designated trained employee who understands how to safely construct a scaffold and the potential hazards to workers. Proper supports—not cinder blocks or similar materials that can be crushed—must be utilized.
These are only a few of OSHA’s requirements for preventing caught-in and between accidents. If you or a family member was injured in this type of construction accident, you need an experienced construction accident attorney who understands what OSHA requirements your employer should have followed. Start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.