Construction Safety: A Look at Struck-By Injuries in Construction
Struck-by hazards are among the major safety concerns in the construction industry every year that cause hundreds and thousands of injuries and deaths. These hazards comprise the widest range of individual hazards categorised based on how the striking object moves. Below are the common struck-by hazards workers in the construction field face every day, and how they can be prevented. Please read on.
These are the objects that get thrust or thrown through the air when one strikes or grinds another material. It could be a material separating from a piece of equipment or machine, a nail exiting a nail gun, flying metal fragments due to hammering, or a blast of compressed air. Workers working in areas with risks of flying objects must wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as head, eye, and foot protection. Necessary training on the proper use of different pieces of equipment is critical. Workers should also inspect power tools before and after use to ensure they’re in good condition.
Falling objects from activities carried out at elevated work surfaces often result in serious injuries and deaths. Workers working below elevated surfaces could be pinned, crushed, or caught under a falling object. The injuries often occur as a result of suspended loads coming loose or materials falling off of moving vehicles. To avoid falling victim of such injuries, ensure to follow all lifting capacity guidelines, wear protective headgear. When using equipment such as fixed access ladders, consider not to exceed the maximum load capacity and that any worker(s) below you stands at a safe distance.
Inspect and properly store tools, equipment and materials. Employees must also be always aware of their surroundings and avoid walking or working below elevated work surfaces, especially if they don’t have the necessary protective gear. Heavy objects should be stored close to the floor and all entrances into areas below active elevated working surfaces should be restricted with barricades.
Swinging objects held by workers or attached to a point can slip, turn, twist, or swing from their riggings and strike unsuspecting workers or visitors. A good example is a loosely attached wrecking ball. To avoid falling victim to injuries due to swinging objects, avoid working or walking under loads as they’re being lifted and always keep a safe distance from suspended loads. All loads should be secured and lifted evenly, but be cautious not to exceed the lifting capacity of hoists and cranes. The cranes and hoists should also be inspected to make sure all components including chains and lifting hooks are in good condition.
Accidents from rolling objects can occur when an object, being in the same level as an employee, begins to roll or slide, striking the employee in its path. These could be moving pieces of equipment, machinery, or trucks. Employees must ensure to check all vehicles before use to determine whether they’re in safe operating condition. If possible, try to walk behind moving equipment and apply extra caution near doorways and around corners. Avoid overloading moving equipment to prevent obstructing your vision. Also, when operating large equipment, always ensure to establish eye contact with the operator before approaching.