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Preventing a common type of fatal construction accident

It may seem obvious that construction workers should not place themselves between heavy equipment and other objects. In some cases, however, construction workers find themselves in danger through no fault of their own. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data shows that these dangers, called caught-in hazards or caught-between hazards, are one of the four major causes of fatal accidents on a construction site.

Recently, a construction industry magazine offered tips for preventing construction accidents caused by caught-between or caught-in accidents. Workers can protect themselves by:

  • Learning the potential hazards on each job site. Each job site should have a site analysis of potential dangers. You can learn these hazards and ask what protection you will need for the job.
  • Do not use unsafe equipment. Do not use equipment unless the guards are in position and properly adjusted, especially guards for equipment parts that move.
  • Stay a safe distance away from equipment unless you are the one operating it.
  • Stay away from barricaded areas.
  • Watch the movement of construction materials. Accidents can happen when materials are moved overhead from one location to another.

Construction sites are busy places. Because of the wide range of workers, firms, and others involved with a site, accidents can happen even when construction workers follow all safety tips and rules can still become involved in a construction accident. Workers’ compensation laws usually prohibit workers from suing their employers for their injuries, but injured workers may be able to hold one or more other parties responsible through a third-party claim. A personal injury lawyer with experience in construction accidents can advise injured workers and their families. 

Source: Equipment World, “5 safety tips for avoiding caught-in/between accidents,” Amy Materson, Dec. 30, 2013

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