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Construction Site Struck-by Hazards in OSHA's Fatal Four

Construction is among the most dangerous industries in the United States. According to OSHA, construction safety is one of their top concerns.  OSHA has found 4 top areas of fatalities in construction including electrocutions, falls, caught-in hazards and struck-by hazards. Struck-by hazards also include falling objects.

Worker Wearing Safety Glasses and Gloves in an Industrial Setting Using a Handheld Grinder Which is Creating Sparks

OSHA defines a struck-by hazard as forcible contact or impact between a person and an object or piece of equipment.

OSHA Standard 1926.303(c)(9) All employees using abrasive wheels shall be protected by eye protection equipment…
Worker Using Sledgehammer to Demolish a Wall

Construction work creates a lot of potential for flying objects, airborne debris, or stray particles from work such as drilling, grinding, or demolition.

  • Ensure proper PPE is always worn and equipment or tools that create flying debris are used with extreme caution.
  • Workers that use tools such as sledge or jack hammers to demolish or break material apart must use caution because debris can fly back toward a worker’s face and eyes or even impact someone who is nearby or in the work area.
Three Workers Using Jack Hammers

Workers should be aware of potential swinging objects. Cranes, derricks, and the swing loads of heavy equipment could pose a struck-by hazard.

  • Always watch for hooks, lines, buckets, or other attachments that are swinging freely when not hoisting or moving materials.
Worker Watching Crane Lift Heavy Load
OSHA Standard 1926.1424(a)(2)(i) [the employer must] train each employee assigned to work on or near the equipment in how to recognize struck-by and pinch/crush hazard areas…
  • Keep out of the swing radius zone. Workers on a construction site must be authorized to enter the swinging area and must notify the equipment operator before entering the hazard zone.
  • Ensure weather conditions are not extremely windy when moving loads as extreme wind increases the risk of swinging hazards.
Danger Sign, Overhead Crane

Multi-level construction projects, telecommunications work, or the use of scaffolding are all common environments that have the potential for falling objects.

When workers are on a walking/working surface below a work area, they must be protected from falling objects that may cause injury.

  • Hard hats should be worn when there is a falling object hazard from above.
  • Consider tethering tools to prevent falls to lower levels.
  • Ensure safety nets, canopies, and/or toeboards are added to prevent objects from falling from overhead operations to a lower-level work site.
OSHA Standard 1926.502(j)(1) Toeboards, when used as falling object protection, shall be added along the edge of the overhead walking/working surface for a distance sufficient to protect employees below.
Stacked Materials at Job Site

Stacked material may pose potential struck-by hazards, especially if they are not secured properly or have the potential to roll.

  • Workers on the same level of heavy material that could roll or slide must be cautious and keep out of storage areas when these loads are being moved.
  • Pile or store material in a secure manner that will prevent it from collapsing.
  • Use straps, banding, chains, blocks, or dunnage to secure materials on sites to prevent them from rolling.
  • Always watch for materials, equipment, or machinery that may become rolling object hazards such as pipes, reels, rebar, coils, rolls, barrels, tires, wheels or even vehicles.
OSHA Standard 1926.250(a)(1) All materials stored in tiers shall be stacked, racked, blocked, interlocked, or otherwise secured to prevent sliding, falling or collapse.
Stacked Pipes at Construction Site

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