A construction workplace can create restricted or tight quarters due to the use of trenches, building structures and heavy equipment. As a result, construction workers who labor near a heavy machine may suffer a serious or even deadly accident if the machine should slide or fall onto the worker or pin the worker against a fixed object.
According to Safety and Health Magazine, these kinds of accidents, known as caught-in or caught-between incidents, can account for a significant amount of construction worker deaths. The Center for Construction Research and Training found that 1,059 workers died between 2003 and 2015 due to these types of accidents.
Where caught-in, caught-between accidents occur
Some incidents occur when workers become caught between a large vehicle like a crane or a forklift and another vehicle, a piece of machinery, or a stationary obstacle like a wall. There are also instances when a worker becomes trapped by a single piece of machinery, sometimes when the machinery is still active or if the machinery slides down an unstable surface.
Workers may also suffer caught-in or caught-between accidents inside of a trench. Trench workers suffer risk because of unstable soil or the heavy weight of machinery on top of the trench that causes a cave-in, or because of weather conditions that destabilize the trench. In fact, workers who labor in excavations experience more than twice the possibility of death over workers who do other forms of construction work.
Preventing caught-in, caught-between accidents
A worker does not have to suffer a caught-in or a caught-between accident. There are ways to prevent them from happening. Proper safety precautions involve making sure qualified workers attend to machinery and turn them off when not using them. If a machine is on wheels, blocking the wheels may help keep the machine from sliding or falling over.
Safety measures should also extend to the attire of construction workers. The right protective gear like eyewear and a hard hat may protect a worker against an impact from modest force. Also, construction companies should instruct their workers not to wear loose clothing or jewelry that might get trapped in a machine.