According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 75% of deaths from struck-by incidents involve heavy equipment. If you work around heavy equipment, you are at risk of being struck by moving objects, such as a backhoe arm, or becoming pinned against an immovable object, like a wall. Here are ways to avoid these hazards:
• Inspect all vehicles before operating them; only drive a vehicle that is in good working condition and wear a seatbelt.
• Always use parking brakes when parked. When parked on an incline, also chock the wheels.
• To prevent a vehicle from rolling over, only drive on roads or grades that are properly maintained. Excavations should be properly barricaded to prevent a vehicle from falling in.
• When backing up a vehicle, if you can’t see behind the vehicle, make sure there is an audible reverse alarm. Another worker, standing at a safe distance, should signal that it is safe to move.
• Make sure no one is in the area where you will use dumping or lifting devices, and never exceed a vehicle’s rated load or lift capacity.
• Never operate equipment if you are not trained and certified to do so.
Falling objects are common at construction sites, especially beneath cranes, scaffolds and where work is being performed overhead. You may also be struck by a flying object if activity causes an object to become airborne, such as when using tools and machines or compressed air. To reduce the risk of injury:
• Wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Head protection, such as a hard hat, should be worn if there is risk of falling objects. Safety goggles and face shields should be worn when working around tools or machines that may produce flying particles.
• When working around cranes and hoists, don’t work underneath loads. Inspect the equipment before use and do not exceed the lifting capacity.
• When working at height, secure objects to prevent them from falling. To prevent or deflect falling objects, use toeboards, screens, nets or canopies.