According to OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 10.1 percent of construction worker fatalities in 2013 were related to struck-by incidents, and 75% of these included vehicles and large equipment such as cranes. This makes struck-by incidents the second-leading cause of deaths in construction work, behind falls, in the OSHA “Fatal Four.” The Fatal Four of construction deaths are falls, struck-by-object incidents, electrocution, and caught-in/between accidents. With so many deaths being attributed to just four types of hazards, OSHA and employers everywhere are working to lower these statistics.
Struck-by object deaths cover a large range of accident types that, at first glance, may seem completely unrelated. OSHA has some great training materials that illustrate and clarify the kinds of accidents that are placed in this category. They group them into four types of incidents by what the worker is struck by, or how the object came into contact with the worker.
Struck-By Object Types
Flying: When the striking object is flying through the air. This includes objects that have been thrown through natural momentum, such as a rock being kicked up by a tire, and by objects that have been propelled with force, such as a nail exiting a nail gun.
Falling: When a worker is injured from objects falling from a higher level (excluding accidents where the worker is struck by material or structures that have collapsed). One example would be material falling from a scaffolding onto a worker below.
Swinging: When the object causing the injury is attached to something, or is being held by a worker, and is swinging through the air or slammed/retracted. An object being lifted by a crane that strikes a worker or a chain that snaps and results in injury are both considered swinging injuries.
Rolling: When the worker and the object are both on the same level and the object is rolling, moving, or sliding. One of the most common types of struck-by rolling object accidents occurs when a worker is hit by a moving vehicle or piece of equipment. If the worker is crushed or pinned between a rolling object and something else, it usually falls under the “caught-in/between” Fatal Four incident type.
No matter what the details of the accident are, or whatever category it falls under, struck-by-object incidents are a leading cause of construction work death. When reviewing safety and training, employers should be sure to discuss common struck-by object hazards with workers.
Learn abou Fatal Four Fall Hazards with Infographic, Click Here.