In February 2017, an Illinois worker died as a result of being crushed in an aerial lift which caused asphyxiation due to mechanical compression of his neck. Sadly, accidents of this nature happen every day on construction job sites across the country as a result of being caught in or between two or more objects.
According to OSHA, construction workers die or sustain life-threatening injuries from being crushed, pinched, compressed, or squeezed between objects that roll, shift, or slide, as well as being caught in between machinery. Our OSHA defense lawyers understand first-hand the suffering, cost, and stress of these accidents and would like to share some tips for avoiding them in this two-part article. Feel free to skip ahead to part two.
Unguarded Machinery Accidents
Most construction sites use machinery with moving or rotating parts which requires maintenance or repair periodically. Failing to properly guard or de-energize these machines during maintenance or repair can lead to a worker’s clothing or body part being caught in or between the machines which could cause an amputation, fracture, and even death. This occurs if the machine churns back into operation during repair. Workers can also be trapped and crushed under heavy equipment that tips on top of them.
Whenever a worker will have contact with equipment with rotating or moving parts such as pulleys, spindles, chains, belts, gears, or shafts, make sure that the equipment cannot be started accidentally. A safety guard should always be attached, disconnect tools when appropriate, block off blades or scrapers, or lock out the power to the equipment. Workers should refrain from wearing loose clothing and jewelry as well.
Pinned Between Accidents
Workers are in danger of being stuck or pinned between two objects such as a wall and piece of equipment or stacked materials and some other object. Even a slow-moving vehicle can strike a worker and cause them to be pinned against a wall which could lead to broken bones or suffocation.
Workers should always maintain a safe distance from moving equipment and vehicles and never place themselves between these objects. Equipment should be stable and secure and workers should wear a seatbelt to prevent themselves being thrown from a vehicle.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.