Struck-by Incidents Safety Talk
A construction site is a dangerous place for an individual. Most sites have flying debris, moving equipment, falling objects, and large tools. It is easy to see why. When you are working on a construction site it is important for you as a worker to know the dangers and hazards that come with the work and make yourself aware of how to prevent injuries.
OSHA has determined that there are four main safety hazards that account for a majority of all construction worker's deaths each year on the job site. These are often dubbed the "Fatal Four" by OSHA and they include falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, and getting caught in or between hazards. Today we are focusing on struck-by hazards and how to prevent and protect against them. Of the Fatal Four hazards, struck-by hazards are the second highest cause of fatalities among construction workers.
A struck-by incident occurs when a worker comes into forcible contact with a flying, falling, swinging, or rolling object.
Struck-by incidents pose a great risk to ground personnel on any construction site. These accidents were responsible for 8.1% of all construction site fatalities in 2014. There are many struck-by hazards on a construction site that can injure or kill workers at any given time. Some common struck-by hazards can include moving equipment, falling objects, and flying debris.
There are four common types of struck-by hazards in the construction field: struck-by flying objects, struck-by falling objects, struck-by swinging objects, and struck-by rolling objects. We will look and each of these hazards closer and provide injury prevention tips for each.
Struck-by Flying Objects Hazards
An injury by a flying object can happen in several ways. A flying object hazard exists when something has been thrown, hurled, or is even propelled across a room. It can also include when a piece of material separates from a tool, machine, or piece of equipment striking a worker and causing injury or even fatality. Examples of a struck-by flying object can include being struck by tools that have been thrown, debris that has been thrown, accidental nail gun discharges, or even a tip flying off a saw blade as you are using it.
Nail gun discharges are one of the most common struck-by flying object hazards on a construction site, Workers should always steer clear of the line of sight when they see a nail gun being used. This can include workers who might be working on the opposite side of the wall. Misfires can have enough force that they can penetrate plywood and gypsum boards and strike workers on the opposite side.
Struck-by Falling Object Hazards
An injury can occur from a struck-by falling object very easily, as there are numerous overhead hazards on a jobsite. This can include materials being knocked off edges that are not protected, a suspended load on a crane coming loose and falling, or even tools falling off an upper level. Workers should avoid areas where work is being performed over their heads and they should also never position themselves under a suspended loan on a crane.
Tools and materials should always be secured when you are performing overhead work by using toeboards or screens. This can prevent the objects and debris from falling. Workers should also never throw or drop any tool or object that could potentially cause a struck-by injury.
Struck-by Swinging Object Hazards
A struck-by swinging object often happens when materials are being mechanically lifted and something causes the load to sway and fall. High winds are one of the reasons a load could be swaying. To avoid these types of injuries a worker should never stand inside the swing radius of heavy equipment such as a crane. Workers should always stand outside the swing radius and verify that the heavy equipment operator can see them at all times.
Struck-by Rolling Object Hazards
An injury that is caused by a rolling object typically involves a worker and a piece of heavy equipment or vehicle. A worker can be struck by any object that is in motion. This includes things that roll, move or slide on the same level as the worker. Workers can avoid these by staying clear of any vehicles or heavy machines that are in use.
It is important to remember that equipment operators have very limited visibility when they are in reverse. Workers have to be aware of what is going on around them and make sure they avoid areas where heavy machines are being used. It is also important that the operators of the equipment are properly trained to avoid creating struck-by accidents. These injuries are often caused by workers not paying attention or operators that are not properly trained.
How to Prevent Struck-by Incidents
Prevention is the key to not having struck-by injuries on the job site. Some general things you can do to prevent struck-by incidents include:
Wear personal protective equipment such as steel-toe shoes and hard hats
Workers should only use equipment that they are properly trained to use
Workers should make sure all safety devices on equipment are in good working order before they use them
Never obstruct views by overloading equipment
Use extra caution with machinery around corners and doorways
Secure and neatly store loose materials in our head locations
Store heavy objects close to the floor
Secure all loads and lift them evenly
Never throw materials or tools
Use debris nets, catch platforms, or canopies to catch or deflect falling objects
Do not work under loads that have been lifted and always keep a safe distance
Do not exceed the lifting capacity of cranes and hoists
Inspect all tools to ensure the protective guards are in good condition
Struck-by Safety is Important (and Simple)
Construction sites are full of many hazards for the workers and visitors on the site. Some of these injuries can easily be avoided by workers just paying more attention and by falling some simple safety precautions. Struck-by incidents are difficult to eliminate but proper planning can help reduce exposure to these risks.
If you see any hazards on the job site make sure you let your foreman know immediately. If you do get injured let your supervisor know as soon as possible and if needed get the proper medical attention.
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