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Don’t Get Caught Beneath Or Between Machines

I’m Ron Wittmeyer, and today I want to talk about one of OSHA’s Fatal Fours, the fourth leading cause of construction worker deaths in the US. It is getting caught underneath or between machines on a construction site.

A case

I remember a case where a construction worker crawled underneath a water truck while the truck was still running and he was checking out whether something wasn’t working right. He caught his collar on the water pump shaft that was rotating, which, unfortunately, pulled him into that pump shaft and resulted in his death.

Some common types of caught in or caught between incidents on construction sites are related to machinery. In our instance with the water truck, unguarded moving parts can cut your workers’ hands, feet or clothing.

Another example is being pinned between a moving object and a stationary object like a wall, a moving piece of equipment moving up against a stationary object. Let’s talk about prevention.

What workers can do to prevent these incidents

A couple of things that workers can do to prevent these types of incidents are, first of all, not to wear loose clothing or jewelry on a construction site. It can easily be caught in moving parts of equipment like in our example. Secondly, make sure that the machinery and equipment is de-energized so it cannot start accidently.

What employers should do

Here are a few things employers should do to prevent these types of incidents from occurring… First, employers should provide guards on power tools and equipment with moving parts. OSHA has specific regulations about that.

Next, employers should also provide a lock-out or tag-out procedure for ensuring that disabled machinery or equipment is not inadvertently energized while it’s being repaired or it is otherwise out of service.

Thirdly, employers should make sure that backhoes and loaders, buckets or similar equipment are blocked or fully lowered at a position of rest when not in use.

Finally, employers should make sure that all material handling equipment is equipped with roll-over protection structures. If you have any questions or want to discuss any of this, feel free to shoot me an email.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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