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Struck by Object

Being struck by an object is one of the leading causes of death and serious injury on construction sites. It has been designated by OSHA as one of the “Fatal Four” types of accidents. One in five workplace fatalities occur in the construction industry and Fatal Four accidents account for more than 50 percent of all construction worker deaths. Struck by hazards include moving vehicles, such as cranes and backhoes, falling tools or flying debris ejected from power tools, and the construction of masonry walls.

Heavy Equipment and Vehicles

Performing tasks around and using heavy equipment and vehicles puts workers at risk for being struck and injured. Some common causes of struck by accidents involving vehicles include:

  • Driving on unsafe roadways or grades
  • Using reverse gear with an obstructed view
  • Exceeding forklift height and weight limitations for load or traveling with elevated loads
  • Failure to maintain vehicles in good working condition
  • Exceeding the vehicle load or lifting capacity

Falling or Flying Objects

Sources of potential falling or flying objects on a construction site include:

  • Unsecured tools or materials being used by workers at heights
  • Hand tools that are worn or damaged and lose their heads during use
  • Scaffolding that lacks the proper toe boards, screens, or guardrails. Also, using scaffolding for storage of tools and materials
  • Failure to use safety guards on power tools to prevent flying debris
  • Lack of safety guards on overhead conveyor belts

It is important that cranes be properly maintained. No one should be working underneath a suspended load. The work area should be clearly barricaded and workers should be aware of the swing radius of the crane. All components of the crane’s construction should be inspected regularly and load limits set by the manufacturer should be observed.

Concrete and Masonry Walls

The construction of concrete and masonry walls is particularly hazardous because of the immense loads these walls must bear. Struck by accidents occur during this type of construction when:

  • Slabs fall as lifting equipment moves them into place Lifting equipment is overloaded
  • The lifting device fails and falls onto the structure being built Structures are not properly shored while being constructed
  • The support strength of the wall is not tested before placing weight on it
  • Unauthorized personnel enter the construction area

Injuries

Workers involved in a struck by accident typically suffer severe injuries that can range from lacerations and broken bones to head and neck injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Debris ejected from power tools can cause puncture wounds including eye injuries. Powder-actuated tools are so powerful that their operators must be trained and licensed.

Prevention

There are many steps employers can take to prevent struck by accidents in the workplace. The first step should be providing training for workers in the safe operation of tools and machinery. Personal protective equipment such as hard hats and goggles must be provided when necessary and they should be regularly inspected for wear and tear. All machinery, tools, and vehicles in use should also be maintained and inspected for parts that are loose or worn. Other actions that prevent struck by accidents include:

  • Observing manufacturer load limits for cranes, forklifts, backhoes, and other lifting devices
  • Clearing the area of workers before dumping or lifting a load
  • Clearly marking the area of operation for cranes and other heavy machinery
  • Making sure loads are balanced
  •  Using back up signals on all moving vehicles and flaggers when a load obstructs the driver’s view
  • Using safety guards on power tools

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of Gross & Kenny, LLP Help Workers Injured in a Struck by Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by defective tools or equipment, contact a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer of Gross & Kenny, LLP, to discuss your legal options. Schedule a free consultation by completing our online form or calling our Center City offices at 267-589-0090.