Every year, thousands of injuries and fatalities result from contact with heavy equipment and trucks. Struck-By is one of the OSHA Fatal Four – nearly all fatalities result from either Struck by, Caught Between, Falls or Electrocutions. Stuck by accidents account for 16% of OSHA recordable injuries.
A Struck-By hazard exists when the potential for damage to equipment or an injury to a worker can occur by being struck by an object, vehicle or equipment. When safety practices are not followed at a job site, workers run the risk of being crushed between a fixed object such as a building, being hit as they move out from between into the way of moving trucks, or being caught in the swing radius of a crane or backhoe.
Here are some work practices that will help ensure your safety when working around trucks and heavy equipment:
• Make sure the equipment operator or driver is experienced with the equipment that they are operating. Often, employees who are unfamiliar with the equipment they are assigned to operate are distracted learning the controls, narrowly focused to avoid a mistake making them less likely to notice you in the area.
• Always install, daily inspect, test, use, and maintain vehicle back-up alarms. Vehicle back-up alarms must be detectable above the ambient jobsite noise. Be aware that some alarms are mounted at the rear of a vehicle, and the sound may be blocked when the truck bed is raised or the alarm is obstructed by equipment parts. Ignoring the sound of a backup alarm can prove fatal. Pay attention always.
• Station one or more flaggers behind vehicles that have obstructed rear views. Never position yourself between moving and fixed objects. Stand and keep heavy equipment clear of trucks dumping loads at least two truck widths away.
• Keep non-essential workers and all unauthorized personnel away from vehicle use areas. Use barricade material, such as brightly colored snow fencing or flagged rope, so the zone perimeter is highly visible. Be sure to replace and check barricades EVERY day before leaving the jobsite.
• Do not walk about a jobsite, yard or parking lot with headphones on. You can step into the path of a moving vehicle.
• Keep unneeded materials, tools, fuel cans, fire extinguishers, trash barrels etc. out of the active equipment work radius, out from blind spots or where they can be struck. Clean up your site EVERY day.
• Always wear bright, highly visible clothing when working near equipment and vehicles. Keep your high-vis clothing clean so the color stays bright and always zip or button the front of the vest for more coverage area.
• Practice “20 or 2”. When on the ground, approaching equipment or trucks, stay 20 feet away in view of the operator until motioned to come forward and make eye contact to ensure you see each other. Struck by incidents can also occur from flying debris, falling or dropped objects and tools, dislodged poorly stacked materials, soil and rocks piled near a trench, and shifting cargo to mention a few. Be on the lookout for Struck By hazards. Discuss during your crew meetings. Always take the time to report and share your observations of near misses and hazards using your Fiore NM Hazard Recognition Cards.
(Topic suggested by Cesar Carmona, Hunter Hulsey, & Terry Bertram)
Coronavirus Reminder: If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people to reduce spreading the illness. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face. Cover your face when at work. Stay 6 feet apart during lunch & breaks.