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The main four causes of crane accidents are contact with power lines, overturns, falls, and mechanical failure. Improper maintenance and failure to conduct regular inspections can also be harbingers of trouble, and dropped loads, boom collapse, rigging failures, workers being struck by the chassis as it rotates, lack of training, lack of communication, and other mishaps cause accidents as well. Following safe work practice and complying with OSHA’s standards for crane safety can help minimize these risks.
According to OSHA safety guidelines, the “Seven Sisters of Safety” include the following:
From 2011 to 2017, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 297 total crane-related deaths in the United States, an average of 42 per year over this 7-year period. Men accounted for 293 of the 297 fatal injuries involving cranes. White, non-Hispanic workers accounted for 72 percent of fatal injuries involving cranes, while 15 percent involved Hispanic and Latino workers.
Forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many industries, primarily to move materials. They can also be used to raise, lower, or remove large objects or a number of smaller objects on pallets or in boxes, crates, or other containers. Powered industrial trucks can either be ridden by the operator or controlled by a walking operator.
What are the hazards associated with forklifts?
There are many types of powered industrial trucks. Each type presents different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high-lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling load accident because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck.
Workplace type and conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. For example, retail establishments often face greater challenges than other worksites in maintaining pedestrian safety. Beyond that, many workers can also be injured when:
From 2011 to 2017, 614 workers lost their lives in forklift related incidents and more than 7,000 nonfatal injuries with days away from work occurred every year. Events that led to the most workplace deaths were non-roadway incidents, struck by powered vehicle, non-transport cases, struck by falling object cases, falls to lower level, and pedestrian vehicular incidents.
An estimated 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents may prevent some 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths every year (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2003 and 2004 data for the private sector).
According to a BLS Study, 72% of scaffold accidents can be attributed to 1 of the following 3 causes:
As for the other 28%, scaffold accidents can be caused by:
Due to the fact that scaffolds are used to get access to heights that are otherwise too high to reach, most scaffolding accidents result in serious injuries or death. The most common scaffold injuries include:
Despite how dangerous scaffolding might look, serious injuries and fatal falls can be prevented. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends taking the following safety measures:
Slips, trips, and falls cause many fatalities per year and many more injurious accidents in the workplace according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million Americans suffer a slip, trip, and fall injury and over 17,000 people die in the U.S. annually because of these injuries. Slip, trip, and fall injuries make up 15 percent of all job-related injuries.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that there are 110,000 injuries to the feet and toes of U.S. workers annually accounting for 19 percent of all disabling work injuries.
Slip and falls accidents can cause other complications including:
Slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, or weather hazards like ice or snow. Slips are more likely to occur when you hurry or run, wear the wrong kind of shoes, or don’t pay attention to where you’re walking. According to OSHA, you can help avoid slips by following these safety precautions:
Trips occur whenever your foot hits an object, and you are moving with enough momentum to be thrown off balance. According to OSHA, to prevent trip hazards:
According to OSHA, to avoid falls consider the following measures:
Heavy equipment and machinery accidents are common in construction, manufacturing, warehousing, and various other industries According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA, workers that operate machinery experience approximately 18,000 amputations, crushing injuries, lacerations, and abrasions each year. In addition to these incidents, there are over 800 fatalities.
Heavy equipment and machinery accidents can result from an endless list of factors. From operator error to equipment and machinery defects, if just one thing goes wrong, the consequences can be devastating. Some types of heavy equipment and machinery most commonly involved in workplace accidents include:
Some of the most-common factors involved in heavy equipment and machinery accidents include:
Per the CDC, struck-by injuries are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and the second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers, costing over $1.7 billion in workers’ compensation costs in 2016. These injuries occur when a worker is struck by a moving vehicle, equipment, or by a falling or flying object.
For construction workers, the risk of nonfatal struck-by injuries is twice the risk of all other industries combined, and construction workers have the highest number of fatal struck-by injuries compared to any other industry. Employers and employees can work together to raise awareness and prevent struck-by injuries.
Compared to all other industries, construction workers have the highest rate of nonfatal struck-by injuries at 2.7 per 10,000 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) workers. The most common sources of nonfatal struck-by injuries involved solid building materials, powered and non-powered hand tools, and scrap/waste/debris. The rate of nonfatal struck-by injuries is highest among helpers, sheet metal workers, heating and air conditioning mechanics, and ironworkers. Most nonfatal struck-by injuries (96%) are caused by falling or flying objects, or equipment. The most common events leading to a non-fatal injury include being struck by handheld objects or equipment (36%), falling objects or equipment (29%), and discharged or flying objects (14%).
Employers are responsible to do their part in reducing struck-by injuries. Scheduling pressures and lack of training can create barriers to focusing on prevention efforts. OSHA offers training modules to reduce struck-by injuries as part of the Focus Four Fatal Injuries in construction. This training provides focused information and case studies of real-life fatalities, along with the relevant OSHA regulations on the four worst hazards that construction workers face: falls, struck-by, caught-in/between, and electrocutions.
The Center for Construction Research and Training offers more detailed work practices and prevention methods to reduce the risk of struck-by injuries, by type of hazard. Use the following best practices to reduce the risk of struck-by injuries due to equipment and falling or flying objects:
Head & Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury or TBI affects how the brain works. TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. It may be caused by a:
There are three main types of TBI:
Most TBIs that occur each year are mild TBIs or concussions. A mild TBI or concussion is caused by:
This sudden movement can cause:
Moderate or Severe TBI
A moderate or severe TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a penetrating injury to the head. In the United States, severe TBIs are linked to thousands of deaths each year.
For those who survive, a moderate or severe TBI may lead to long-term or life-long health problems that may affect all aspects of a person’s life. These health problems have been described as being similar to the effects of chronic disease.
Falls lead to most moderate and severe TBIs and are one of the leading causes of TBI-related hospitalizations among Americans.
24% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are work-related injuries (Colantonio et al., 2016), yet concussions in the workplace are often overlooked. Concussions in the workplace are most commonly caused by falls, getting struck in the head by falling objects, or motor vehicle accidents.
Compared to other work-related injuries, concussions are very complex and can result in time lost from work. That’s why it’s critical for injured workers to get immediate care from healthcare providers who are specially trained in diagnosing and treating concussions from workplace injuries.
If you get hurt on the job, your employer is required by law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits. You could get hurt by:
One event at work. Examples: hurting your back in a fall, getting burned by a chemical that splashes on your skin, getting hurt in a construction accident.
Repeated exposures at work. Examples: hurting your wrist from doing the same motion over and over, losing your hearing because of constant loud noise on a construction site.
Report the injury to your employer
Tell your supervisor right away. If your injury or illness developed gradually (like tendinitis or hearing loss), report it as soon as you learn or believe it was caused by your job.
Get emergency treatment if needed
If it’s a medical emergency, go to an emergency room right away. Your employer may tell you where to go for treatment. Tell the health care provider who treats you that your injury or illness is job-related.
Fill out a claim form and give it to your employer
Your employer must give or mail you a claim form (DWC 1) within one working day after learning about your injury or illness. Use it to request workers’ compensation benefits.
Obtain immediate medical care
Obtain immediate medical care to help you recover. You should be treated by a doctor who understands your particular type of injury or illness. Tell the doctor about your symptoms and the events at work that you believe caused them. Also describe your job and your work environment.
Lawyers who specialize in helping injured workers with their California workers’ compensation claims are called applicant’s attorneys. Their job is to plan a strategy for your case, gather information to support your claim, keep track of deadlines and represent you in hearings before a workers’ compensation judge at your local Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board office. For example, if your medical treatment has been denied, your attorney will request an expedited hearing before a workers’ compensation administrative law judge to get the situation resolved.