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How Can Construction Workers Avoid OSHA’s Fatal Four: Struck-By Hazards?

Posted in Workplace Accidents on July 26, 2022

Construction workers account for about 20% of workplace fatalities each year. Struck-by accidents are one of the “fatal four” hazards faced by construction workers. The “fatal four” hazards for the construction industry are falls, caught in-or-between hazards, struck-by hazards, and electrocution.

What Is Meant by “Struck-by Hazards?”

A struck-by accident occurs when a worker comes into contact with an object on a worksite. An accident is classified as a struck-by event when an injury occurs solely because of an impact on an object.

According to OSHA, about three-fourths of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, such as cranes or trucks. However, falling and flying objects are also a hazard that can result in a struck-by accident.

Four Types of Struck-by Hazards in the Construction Industry

Four common types of struck-by hazards that can cause construction injuries and deaths include:

Struck-by Rolling Object

A worker is struck by an object that is sliding, rolling, or moving on the same level as the construction worker. Examples would include being struck by a truck or rail car. Another example would be a worker being run over by a crane.

Any moving equipment can pose a risk to construction workers. It can be difficult to hear a warning over the noise of the construction site and with ear protection in place.

Workers can avoid being struck by moving objects by walking to the side or behind moving objects instead of in front of them. Making direct eye contact with the driver or operator can also avoid an accident. Also, construction companies and contractors should routinely inspect all moving equipment and vehicles to ensure they are in good operating condition.

Struck-by Swinging Object

Cranes, machinery carrying heavy objects, and wrecking balls are examples of swinging object hazards on a construction site. Materials being mechanically lifted can swing, turn, or twist. Some equipment has hinge-like motions that create a slamming or swinging motion that can strike a construction worker.

Employers should ensure that equipment operates within safety parameters and is routinely inspected. Workers can reduce the risk of struck-by injuries caused by swinging objects by remaining outside of the radius of the swinging object.

Struck-by Falling Object

Whenever an object falls from an elevated level to a lower level, the resulting accident is classified as a struck-by falling object event. It includes situations where workers are pinned, crushed, or caught under falling objects. It does not include injuries sustained from a building collapse or other collapse.

It can be difficult to avoid falling objects. Workers may have no warning that an object is falling from above. Therefore, they should avoid walking under scaffolding and debris whenever possible.

Steps should be taken to secure all loads to prevent them from falling when hoisted to reduce the risk of falling debris. Also, all materials, equipment, and structures at elevated levels should be secured to prevent them from falling to lower levels.

Struck-by Flying Object

Flying objects are not attached to another object (i.e., a swinging object). Instead, they are items hurled, thrown, or propelled across an area.

Flying objects include pieces of machinery that detach and strike workers. They include nails from nail guns and other fasteners that “shoot” projectiles. Using compressed air can create flying objects that injure and kill workers.

Extreme care should be exercised when using any construction equipment that has projectiles. Inspecting equipment to ensure it is safe and in good condition can prevent pieces of the machinery from separating and flying across an area.

Workers can also protect themselves from hazards by wearing the required safety equipment for construction sites. Safety equipment includes hard hats, gloves, steel-toed boots, and eye protection.

Who Is Responsible for a Struck-by Hazard Injury on a Construction Site?

New York worker’s compensation covers most construction injuries. Therefore, the worker is limited to filing a workers’ comp claim for their construction site accident.

However, some preventable construction errors could lead to a lawsuit. You might be able to sue your employer or a third party for negligence or other wrongdoing.

For example, employers who refuse to provide required safety equipment or PPE and follow federal and state safety procedures could be liable for damages a worker sustains because of a struck-by-object accident. An equipment or machinery manufacturer could be liable if a piece of defective machinery caused the struck-by object accident.

Seeking legal advice from a construction accident lawyer is the best way to know whether you can sue your employer or a third party after a construction accident. You could be entitled to substantial compensation for your economic and non-economic damages because of an injury on a construction site.

Contact Our Workplace Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City workplace accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600