You wear your safety harness when you work on scaffolding, and you always take precautions when using heavy equipment. However, these actions may not be enough to keep you from one of the top killers on construction sites.
According to a recent report in Safety and Health Magazine, struck-by accidents kill more workers in the construction industry than any other type of incident. What could strike and fatally injure you on a construction site?
Falling or flying objects
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, any type of equipment, materials or other cargo that someone moves from one location to another has the potential to strike and injure you if
- Others have not stacked or loaded the object properly
- There is a faulty rope, hook or wire
- There is something unsecured on top of the material
Every worker on the jobsite should know to take precautions against these possibilities. Employers should also provide barricades, warning signs and debris nets, and make sure everyone receives training in the placement and use of these protective tools.
Personal protective equipment you should wear of course includes a hardhat, but it is also important to wear a face or eye shield to keep smaller objects such as flying particles from striking you in the eyes.
Heavy equipment and vehicles
Heavy equipment should make noises and flash lights when they back up, but even though the operator provides these warnings to you, he or she should also make sure there are no obstructions that keep him or her from seeing you. You should also be wearing clothing that makes you visible, such as a bright or reflective vest.
Equipment or vehicles could also strike you if they are overloaded or improperly balanced, if they are on surfaces that are unstable or if they are on an incline without a parking brake set. You should never ride or stand in a place that is not intended for a passenger. Poor maintenance may also lead to a struck-by accident if a vehicle has faulty brakes.