Tag Archive for: struck-by hazard

What Is a Struck-By Hazard?

Working in hands-on industries where there are moving parts and equipment, heavy equipment and machinery, tools, and vehicles and objects in motion can be very dangerous. Indeed, workers in industries like construction are at a higher risk of injury and death than workers in less hazardous jobs.

For construction workers and others who work around equipment, machinery, and moving vehicles, one of the most dangerous hazards is a struck-by hazard. If you work in a dangerous industry, it’s important to understand what a struck-by hazard is, how struck-by accidents happen and how to prevent them, and what to do if you’re involved in a struck-by accident.

What Is a Struck-By Hazard?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a struck-by injury as an injury that’s produced by the “forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment.” When the impact alone causes the injury—i.e. someone getting hit in the head by a large piece of equipment—then this is considered a struck injury.

This is different from a caught injury, which OSHA explains is an injury created as a result of a person being crushed between objects. OSHA categorizes the following as struck-by hazards that can cause struck-by injuries:

  • Flying objects
  • Falling objects
  • Swinging objects
  • Rolling objects

How Do Struck-By Accidents Happen?

One important thing to know about struck-by accidents is that they are almost always completely preventable. These types of accidents happen when objects are improperly secured, workers are improperly trained, equipment is defective, or incorrect safety protocols are followed on a job site.

In some cases, struck-by accidents can occur as a result of the actions of negligent third parties that are not related to the job site/employer. For example, a drunk driver could hit and kill a construction worker in a roadside construction zone.

Avoiding Struck-By Accidents

Because most struck-by accidents occur as a result of negligence and the failure to follow property safety procedures, there are steps that employees and employers can take to eliminate struck-by hazards and reduce the risk of struck-by accidents. For example, things that employers can do include:

  • Ensure all workers on site have access to proper safety equipment and are using the equipment.
  • Make sure all workers are properly trained; have ongoing training sessions as needed and whenever introducing new equipment, machinery, techniques, or projects.
  • Ensure that all equipment, machinery, and vehicles on site are properly serviced and maintained.
  • Respond to accidents immediately and all accidents that occur to determine what happened and what can be done differently next time; implement lessons learned.
  • Ensuring safety managers are assigned and supervising all work.

For employees, there are also steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of an accident. Employees should always pay close attention to what they’re doing, follow safety protocols, refrain from rough-housing, and always work while sober.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Struck-By Accident

If you are involved in a struck-by accident at work, it’s important that you understand your rights and how to recover compensation for your injuries.

If your injuries are severe, you should seek emergency medical care, which will be covered by your workers’ compensation provider. After seeking medical care, you should make sure that you report your accident to your employer immediately. If you do not report the accident, you may be barred from recovery. After reporting the accident, it is important that any medical care you receive comes from an approved medical provider.

Your employer will be responsible for reporting the injury to your workers’ compensation provider. If they do not report the injury, you should report the injury yourself.

The workers’ compensation insurance provider will investigate your claim and will likely offer you a settlement. You do not have to accept the initial settlement offer. You have the right to negotiate your claim.

Note that due to the nature of the workers’ compensation system, you do not have the right to bring forth a claim against your employer. You may have the right to bring forth a third-party liability claim for damages against a negligent third party.

Avoiding Being Involved in a Struck-By Accident

While you have the right to workers’ compensation insurance in the event that you’re injured on the job, avoiding being involved in a struck-by accident should be the top priority. By following safety regulations, always utilizing safety equipment, paying attention, and attending safety training, you can reduce your risk of being involved in a struck-by accident.