Struck-by injuries are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the workplace and the second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They cost employers more than $1.7 billion in workers’ compensation costs.
Struck-by injuries are those that result from contact with objects or equipment. They are the fourth leading cause of work-related death and the third leading cause of non-fatal injuries involving days away from work, according to the National Safety Council. In 2019, contact with objects or equipment accounted for 229,410 injuries—each resulting in an average of five days away from work.
Workers are at risk of falling objects when they are situated beneath cranes, scaffolds, and other similar equipment, or where overhead work is performed. In addition, power tools or tasks like pushing, pulling, or prying can cause objects to become airborne. These injuries can include things like being hit by building materials or tree limbs, being pinned under a vehicle when it falls off a jack, or being struck by a tool when it vibrates off a catwalk at a construction site. The outcome can range from a minor abrasion to a concussion, blindness, or death.
In the construction industry specifically, the CDC says:
As an employer, it’s vital to provide a safe work environment for your employees. That includes complying with OSHA rules and providing safety training to everyone from the CEO to the intern.
Distractions can lead to worker injuries, as can improper training, faulty equipment, or poor risk assessments or housekeeping at the workplace. Here are some tips from the National Safety Council that employers—and employees—can implement to help prevent injury from contact with objects:
With proactive attention—including proper education on job-specific hazards, periodic safety inspections, and appropriate corrective action—you can reduce the risk of an employee being struck by an object at your workplace.
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