Preventing Common Workplace Equipment Injuries

Many industries rely on large pieces of equipment and machinery to get work done. While equipment and machinery are often critical, large equipment and machinery can also be dangerous. Machinery and equipment defects and improper operation of workplace equipment will often lead to severe injuries or even death. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. Consider the following about common workplace equipment injuries and how to prevent them.

Common Workplace Equipment Injuries

Working around equipment can be dangerous. For workers in the construction industry, manufacturing industry, and logging industry, working around heavy machinery and large equipment is risky. Some of the most common types of workplace equipment accidents and injuries include: 

  • Amputation injuries. Amputation injuries are an especially devastating injury type and can occur when a worker’s limb is caught in a piece of equipment or otherwise impacted by a sharp or heavy object to the point where amputation is medically necessary. 
  • Crush injuries. Crush injuries can sometimes lead to the amputation of a limb. Crush injuries can occur as a result of a worker being caught in machinery or equipment, struck by falling equipment, or run over by equipment. 
  • Caught-in/between injuries. Caught-in/between machinery injuries are one of the leading causes of fatal injury within the construction industry, as reported by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 
  • Fall injuries. Falling while trying to operate or exit from machinery or equipment can lead to bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, head injuries, internal injuries, and other serious injury types. 
  • Backing-up injuries. One of the most serious types of accidents is a backing-up accident, which occurs when a worker is struck by a piece of machinery/equipment that is in reverse. These types of accidents can be fatal or lead to severe long-term harm. 
  • Electrical injuries. Many machines and equipment rely on electricity to run. Sometimes, faulty wiring, other defects, or improper operation can lead to electrical burns or electrocution, which can be fatal.

Tips for Preventing Common Workplace Equipment Injuries

The vast majority of workplace injuries can be prevented with proper safety training and regular inspection and maintenance of equipment and machinery. Some tips for preventing common workplace equipment injuries:

  • Ensure all operators are properly trained. One of the most critical elements of preventing workplace equipment injuries is simply ensuring that all workers are properly trained on the correct and appropriate operation of equipment. Failure to provide comprehensive and routine training significantly increases the risk of injury and may also be a violation of workplace safety standards. 
  • Host regular workplace safety meetings. Safety meetings are a time to review training, go over workplace hazards, discuss best practices, review PPE requirements, and otherwise check in about the best ways to prevent injuries and keep everyone in the workplace safe.
  • Encourage awareness of surroundings. Even when equipment is properly operated and is working as expected, there could be external factors that contribute to the risk of an accident. Encourage operators to always be hyper-vigilant and aware of their surroundings and to always assess a worksite before using equipment or machinery.
  • Ensure PPE is used. Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, can help to reduce the risk of injury. All workers should have access to the appropriate PPE for the job and be trained on how to use it. 
  • Regularly inspect and maintain equipment. Regularly inspecting equipment and regularly maintaining it can help to prevent equipment defects that lead to severe injuries. 
  • Mitigate hazards. It’s important to identify and remove known hazards, such as equipment hazards, infrastructure hazards, or hazardous practices. Hazard mitigation should be an integral part of all workplace safety plans. 
  • Report injuries and accidents. When an equipment or machinery accident does happen, it should be reported immediately and proper steps should be taken to document the incident. Keeping thorough records is one way to help mitigate accidents in the future.
  • Regularly review and respond. In addition to the above, constant monitoring and evaluation of workplace safety practices is essential. Practices and procedures should often be reviewed, as should any safety incidents or accident reports. Making adjustments to workplace safety practices and being adaptable are key elements of creating an effective response plan. 

How to Learn More About Workplace Equipment Injuries

If you have questions about workplace equipment injuries, best practices for preventing injuries, or workers’ rights if an injury does occur, OSHA Injury Attorney is a resource you can trust. Learn more from OSHA injury today online or by calling OSHA Injury Attorney directly at your convenience.

Construction Site Safety – Staying Safe Around Heavy Equipment

Every construction site includes at least a few pieces of heavy equipment. Of course, this machinery is vital to the productivity of a project. But it can also be a primary source of serious injuries to workers on a construction site. Specifically, heavy equipment is a main contributor to struck-by hazards and caught-between/caught-in hazards. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone on a construction site is familiar with ways to stay safe when working with or around heavy equipment.

The Importance of Heavy Equipment Safety

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the construction industry is one of this country’s most dangerous industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s latest figures, the rate of private construction industry job site deaths reached its highest rate in over a decade.  The leading cause of death was transportation-related, followed by accidents involving contact with objects or equipment.

Past OSHA investigations have determined that most heavy equipment accidents were preventable. To that end, the agency strongly emphasizes safety programs that can increase awareness of hazards on the job site and help reduce the chances of these dangerous and deadly accidents.

Hazards When Working Around Heavy Equipment

While electrocutions and falls are leading causes of construction site accidents, being caught between materials or mechanical components or struck by objects are more likely causes of heavy equipment accidents in these environments. The key to reducing or preventing these types of accidents is to reduce dangerous conditions and increase awareness among workers.

Specifically, there are three types of hazards that must be addressed concerning heavy equipment on a construction site:

  1. Mechanical Hazards

All heavy equipment has moving parts, and these parts present a danger to workers. When working around machinery, it’s important to consider how those moving parts could trap, crush, cut, puncture, or strike someone, or launch materials at them.

  1. Non-Mechanical Hazards

In addition to parts in motion, machinery can cause injury in other ways. There might be burns due to a release of fluids or gasses under pressure, burns from contact with hot surfaces, inhalation of dangerous chemicals or dust, exposure to cancer-causing radiation, or electrocution due to faulty wiring.

  1. Access Hazards

A lot of construction site injuries and deaths happen because workers don’t have safe access around heavy equipment. Without safe access to and from different parts of the job site, workers are unnecessarily exposed to mechanical and non-mechanical hazards. An employer can mitigate these hazards by planning the site better, making proper signage, including the right safeguards, and training workers on situational awareness.

Construction Heavy Equipment Safety Tips

It may not be possible to completely mitigate heavy equipment hazards on a construction site. When hazards still exist, risk control measures must be put in place to reduce the chance of harm.

Workplace safety and health regulations make it mandatory to communicate risk controls and workplace hazards. These should include signage, training, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that can keep workers safe. If you’re using heavy equipment on your construction site, here are some of the top safety tips to reduce the chances of injury:

  • Familiarize workers with equipment– Make sure workers read owners and safety manuals for proper usage and safety tips.
  • Avoid line-of-fire– Have workers stay out of the circumference that a piece of machinery can reach.
  • Stay conscious of blind spots– Operators and workers must understand that large machinery has blind spots – Using a spotter is vital to maintaining a safe work site.
  • Be aware of overhead and underground hazards– Identify and flag any hazards such as power and gas lines that are present in the area.
  • Encourage communication – Train workers on hand signals and other ways to communicate while around or using heavy equipment.
  • Use safe loading and unloading methods– Always be on level ground, use a spotter, and have the area clear of people when loading and unloading heavy machinery.
  • Perform regular maintenance– Walk around the machinery before and after use. And have a consistent schedule for preventative maintenance.

When Construction Accidents Happen Involving Heavy Equipment

The good news is that most construction site accidents involving heavy equipment can be prevented. But when they do happen, someone should be held accountable.

If you work on a construction site and have been injured by a piece of heavy equipment, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation. Figuring out who to hold accountable after a serious accident can be challenging. While workers’ compensation benefits might be available, there could also be the potential for a third-party liability case.

At OSHA Injury Attorney, we specialize in construction site accidents and injuries. Our law firm partners will thoroughly review the circumstances of your accident to ensure we pursue the responsible parties for maximum compensation.