OSHA previously identified the four most dangerous job site hazards for construction workers and they are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects and being caught in/between hazards. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for 58% of all fatalities on construction sites in 2014.
Although caught in/between injuries are the least responsible for deaths of the Fatal Four (representing only 5%), they are the most morbid. Caught in/between accidents are when a worker’s body part is caught, crushed, squeezed, compressed or pinched between two or more objects. These kinds of accidents include cave-ins or collapsing materials, body parts pulled into unguarded machinery, equipment rollovers and being caught between equipment and fixed objects.
So how can you prevent these types of injuries in the workplace and ensure the safety of your workers?
12 Ways to Prevent Caught In/Between Injuries
- Be familiar with the equipment to know where the pinch, sheer, wrap and crush points are located, as well as pull-in areas
- Shut down equipment before doing repairs or inspections
- Chock the wheels on equipment that could move or roll
- Never work under equipment supported only by a jack; use a secondary support device
- Use cylinder safety locks on equipment that support hydraulic cylinders to prevent the release of stored energy
- Make sure all guards are in place and properly secured after servicing equipment
- Stand to the side and be clearly visible to the tractor driver when hitching or unhitching equipment
- Leave an escape route to prevent being pinned between two objects
- Take extra caution when working around equipment that uses belts, chains, sprockets or PTO shafts
- Watch for people carrying objects that block their view of you or their destination
- Keep your focus of what you and the people around you are doing
- Eliminate all fooling around in the work area
In addition to the steps above you should provide your employees with the proper safety equipment and educate them on the proper way to dress to prevent machinery-related injuries and fatalities.
Here are some tips to help your workers “dress the part” for safety on the job site:
- Wear close-fitting clothing
- Tuck your shirt into your pants
- Button long sleeve shirts at the cuff (short sleeve shirts are preferred, if possible)
- Do not wear gloves when working near rotating shafts or other moving machinery parts
- If gloves are a must, make sure they are suitable for your task by confirming it with a supervisor
- Do not wear jewelry at work
- If you wear a medical alert bracelet, secure it with an adhesive band
- Wear long hair in a bun, tie it back or cover it with a cap or hairnet
- Keep facial hair short; cover long facial hair with a net, use clips or elastic bands to keep it away from moving parts
These are only guidelines for preventing machinery-related injuries. As always, proper training of operating equipment and safety rules and regulations is critical to preventing workplace injuries and fatalities.
We recommend getting a fresh pair of eyes to inspect your site via a site audit ” to ensure you are in compliance with federal laws, regulations and standards.
Schedule a free safety assessment with one of our safety experts today and start building your plan to prevent injuries in your workplace.