When you’re in the construction industry, you need to take the phrase “stuck between a rock and a hard place” pretty seriously.
All jokes aside, for most people, this saying means having to choose between two difficult options. For construction workers, it could mean a fatal accident.
Caught in-between incidents include situations in which someone is crushed, pinned, caught inside, or otherwise trapped between more than one object or parts of an object—often resulting in injury or fatality.
These sobering facts help to show just how dangerous these hazards can prove to be in the most unfortunately common scenarios.
1. Caught in-between hazards are one of the top four construction site safety concerns, called the Fatal Four.
These Fatal Four are the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. Electrical, fall, and struck-by hazards comprise the other three, as identified by OSHA.
2. The Fatal Four constitute 57.7 percent of construction site hazards.
More than half of the dangers of construction sites are attributed to these four main hazards. It’s no wonder they’ve been designated such a name.
3. Excavation workers are more than twice as likely to be killed as workers in any other type of construction work.
Excavations and trenches are unstable by nature, and many types of serious hazards exist when doing this type of work—especially the threat of cave-ins and other forms of caught in-between hazards.
4. 796 private-industry construction workers died on the job in 2013. 107 of them died as a result of caught in-between hazards.
More than 13 percent of construction site fatalities were attributed to just one of the Fatal Four—and caught in-between hazards normally cause the fewest fatalities of the four.
Safety Procedures To Reduce The Risks
There is no way to ensure that every employee will be completely safe in every situation, because accidents will always happen regardless of preparation. However, you can help to minimize the risks by taking basic safety measures and making sure work areas are as safe as possible. Employees should follow these basic guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone around them on the job:
- Always follow proper lockout/tagout procedures
- Turn off machinery for maintenance or when not in use
- Block wheels of stationary machinery to prevent rolling
- Cover or block exposed parts that are sharp
- Never walk in swing or fall radius of large equipment
- Always ensure that loads are stable and secured
- Never wear loose clothing or jewelry that can be caught in machinery
The two most important safety tips to keep in mind, no matter what industry or work environment, is to (a) always make sure employees are properly trained on all equipment and the associated emergency protocols, and to (b) always be aware of your surroundings.
Again, there’s no way to keep accidents from ever happening, but you can share this important information with your employees to help keep them prepared and safe on the job.