Avoiding ‘caught-in’ or ‘caught-between’ construction accidents

It seems hard to believe, but it’s actually really easy for a construction worker to get caught on or caught between a piece of heavy machinery. While bystanders might think those large pieces of noisy equipment are hard to ignore, the reality is that human beings can, with enough exposure and practice, start to ignore just about anything.

That’s why even experienced construction workers sometimes suffer terrible injuries when a vehicle moves out of its expected place or a crane swings too wide. The worker simply expects the vehicle to move one direction or the crane to swing the way it normally does and can’t react in time because he or she was concentrating on his or her own job.

So, whether you’re just starting a construction job or are more experienced, take a moment to review safety tips from the experts:

  • Always keep long hair tied and tucked where it can’t get caught on machinery parts.
  • Remove jewelry, even wedding rings.
  • Keep in sight of the operators of any working equipment, especially the kind that’s mobile. If there’s any possibility that an operator can’t see you, keep an escape route open and be ready to use it.
  • Be conscious of the swing radius of any equipment that lifts and give yourself an assured clear distance.
  • Remember that a forklift’s load is often wider than the lift itself. Same with cranes. Try to calculate out an assured clear distance from both.
  • Be conscious of pinch points, which are any areas between two pieces of equipment or between a piece of mobile equipment and a building or stationary object.
  • Do not try to manage more than one task at a time. Keep your distractions to a minimum.

Above all, keep in mind that the work site on a construction job is always changing. No two days — or even two hours — may be exactly the same. Buildings get higher, holes get deeper and new dangers are always appearing. Look a site over carefully every morning and assume that your safety — and that of your co-workers — is always in your own hands. Caught-in and caught-between accidents are still incredibly common and are the result of many devastating construction injuries every day, and no amount of compensation can restore your good health.