Heaving Machinery Accidents: Causes and Prevention Methods
Unfortunately, thousands of construction workers lose their lives every year due to heavy machinery accidents. Contact with objects and equipment is the third leading cause of death in construction. Studies show that heavy equipment operators made up 63% of heavy machinery-related deaths. Understanding the main causes of heavy machinery accidents can help employees gain awareness of how to avoid future accidents.
Leading Causes of Heavy Machinery Accidents
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have grown concerned regarding the number of accidents where workers were caught-in or struck-by heavy machinery. Workers are getting entangled in rotating machinery, struck by different moving machine components, or run over by large mobile equipment. Rollovers are the primary cause of fatalities for heavy equipment operators. For the workers who aren’t operating heavy equipment due to being on foot or assigned to maintenance work, they are usually the ones getting struck by heavy machinery.
One of the major contributing factors to heavy machinery accidents is that it’s not an uncommon practice for workers to be near moving machinery to complete their jobs, especially in underground mines or smaller surface operations. Workers are often cleaning up material near conveyors while the conveyors are actively operating. Another issue is that the loose clothing of workers can get caught in pinch points near idlers or pulleys. Accidents also occur when workers are busy entangled in a machine, and it turns back on unknowingly. The most substantial number of accidents occur during the reparation of machinery. Loss-of-control of mobile machines is another significant issue. This usually happens due to mechanical failure, failure to set brakes, weather-related problems, and operator fatigue.
Tips to Reduce Heavy Machinery Accidents
Despite the number of injuries and fatalities that result from heavy machinery accidents, there are certain safety measures that workers can apply to avoid potential harm. For starters, improved training for machine operators will significantly reduce the number of accidents. A significant issue for operators is visibility. Using devices to help monitor the surrounding areas can help resolve this issue. Devices such as sonar, radar, radio transponders, tag detection systems, video cameras, and GPS technology will all help operators become aware of blind spots. This will help increase the operator’s awareness of people and obstacles near the heavy machinery. Another resolution would be to use sensor-based warning systems, but because of their cost and complexity, they’re not widely used in the United States. Lastly, backup alarms will also help decrease the number of accidents.
At Los Angeles Injury Group, we understand how dangerous working around heavy machinery can be for construction workers. Unfortunately, it’s part of their job to be near hazardous materials and potentially risk their lives. Although there are safety measures for workers to implement, accidents still occur frequently. We believe that employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment for their workers, failure to do so always results in severe, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. When this happens, we believe it’s the employers’ job to compensate workers for any damages and losses. If you, or someone you love, received an injury in a heavy machinery accident, call (310) 954-7248 for a free consultation.