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Workers Injured When Pinned in a Trench by a Backhoe


Construction is among the most dangerous industries and in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there are more than 800 fatal on-the-job injuries to construction workers annually - more than any other single industry.

OSHA has identified the 4 leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry and Caught-in Hazards are one of the Focus Four.

Caught-in or Caught-between hazards are defined as Injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object.

In this incident, as reported on CBS 5 Arizona, two workers were injured when they were pinned in a 4-foot-deep trench by a backhoe at a construction site. The backhoe had come down and trapped or pinned these two men at the bottom of the trench itself.

The original article is no longer available but the image below provides an aerial view of the scene after the workers were injured.

When it was recognized that the men were pinned, the backhoe operator lifted the bucket up.
When it was recognized that the men were pinned, the backhoe operator lifted the bucket up.

Caught-in hazards don't just exist where a line worker might get their glove caught in a gear or where crews on jobsites need to remember to stay out of the way of the swing areas of cranes.

Caught-in hazards exist on every job site and all team members need to be trained to recognize potential caught-in hazards and operators need to be trained on the specific type of heavy equipment they will be using. In addition, these safety tips need to be incorporated into safety meetings and toolbox talks:

  • All crew members must maintain awareness and visual contact with the operators of heavy equipment when working close to machinery.
  • Equipment operators must ensure warning alarms and horns are working properly every day.
  • Crew members must be visible to equipment, trucks, and traffic by wearing all required safety vests and PPE.

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