(Photo: njaj / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Crushing is probably one of the most common formsof injury sustained by pedestrians on a construction site.  However a crush injury can occur whenever the workers body is caught between 2 heavy objects. Some of the most brutal crushing injuries occur when a worker is hit by a falling object, such as a cranes load. These loads are usually heavy materials such as steel, cement blocks etc. which are too heavy to manually transport. This is a common form of injury which needs to be addressed. With a little attention, employers can get together with workers to weigh the risk involved with the hazard and determine ways to eliminate or manage the hazard.

There is also machinery on site that can cause a crushing hazard. This is especially true when appropriate guarding is not in place. Sometimes workers may flout the rules and take shortcuts, leading to them being crushed by parts of a machine or a machine may become jammed and workers will remove the guard in an attempt to fix the machinery, resulting in the crushing of some part of their body.

Another concern associated with machinery is when machine guarding is not in place or damaged, leading to the worker being exposed to the dangerous parts of the machine. Also if workers do not obey the safety rules as specified it is easy for them to get pulled into the machines movable parts resulting in crushing. Part of workers training should entail the appropriate PPE to wear and teach workers to avoid loose, flowing clothing which could get caught in the machine’s parts and cause an injury.

Construction site vehicles, including forklifts, graders, bulldozers, payloaders, steamrollers and earth movers, can also cause crush injuries. Workers can get run over or pinned by heavy equipment on the site. Forklift accidents are another source of crush injuries. A load from a forklift can crush someone working near it. Forklift operators have become renowned for crushing injuries caused by tip overs. Trenches and excavations pose a threat of crush injuries as well. A cave-in or trench collapse can bury workers alive. The weight of the soil, rocks and other material can cause crush injuries.

Workers can also be crushed by heavy equipment and vehicles on a site because it is such a busy and noisy environment that workers may not hear the approaching vehicle. Pedestrian walkways must be clearly marked. Installing physical barriers ensures workstations are separated from vehicle travel areas. There have been many incidents when workers were crushed between a vehicle and another object and sustained crushing injuries in the process.

Just having the proper safety procedures in place is not enough, they need to be adhered to and enforced by employers and workers in order to avoid tragic circumstances such as these.

Crushing injuries, like all other construction injuries can be avoided if the proper procedures are followed and workers remain vigilant on site. Avoiding long shifts, taking regular breaks and resting in between strenuous tasks can help workers remain alert and avoid many of the dangers brought about by worker negligence, such as crushing.


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