Select the topic of interest or scroll down to see available articles. Click to download and you can complete a short form to access PDFs of Safety Watch articles for use in safety training and toolbox talks.

Caught In/Between & Struck By

Demolition

Electrocution

Falls

Miscellaneous

Run Over/Back Over

Tip Over/ Rollover

Transporting Machines

Trenching

Welding

 

Caught In/Between & Struck By

Know your limits: Don’t work on equipment unless you have the proper training

The accident: An employee was repairing a 60-foot telescopic boom lift that had a malfunctioning counterbalance valve. He loosened the valve from underneath the rear of the lift and then climbed onto the lift’s base to access the valve from the front of the lift, positioning him directly under the boom.


Quick disconnect: Stay clear of an excavator’s attachments and swing area

The accident: A utility contractor was using an excavator with a lifting eye connected to the bucket to load concrete manhole sections. A coworker on the ground connected the sections to the excavator and then disconnected them once the sections were placed on a truck….


Backhoe woes: Make sure your machine is blocked or chocked before leaving it on a slope

The accident: A backhoe operator was working on covering a pipe in a drainage ditch next to a retaining wall. He parked the machine on a slope and exited the backhoe while leaving the bucket, which was full of rocks and gravel, elevated.


A safe exit: Make sure you’ve locked out controls before leaving a cab for any reason

The accident: A man stopped to clear debris from a dozer, getting out of the cab. When the dozer started to move, he tried getting back behind the controls, but slipped off the machine and was crushed beneath it.


Off, not idling: If you leave a backhoe for any reason, make sure the machine is completely turned off

The accident: A two-man crew was using a backhoe loader and hand shovel to clear earth from a home’s foundation footing. The backhoe operator dug a 2-foot-wide by 2-foot-deep excavation around the footing while the second worker removed extra dirt with the shovel after the backhoe passed through…


Not so fast: Before you attach a bucket, take a closer look at your quick coupler

The accident: During a water main installation, a crew member entered a newly dug lateral excavation, preparing to install pipe. Using a quick coupler, an excavator operator changed buckets and swung the machine over to the trench to continue digging on the main line. The bucket detached and fell into the excavation, killing the man in the trench.


Don’t get pinned: Safe operation starts with the basics

The accident: The contractor instructed an excavator operator to move dirt, clear debris and fill a trench, and then left the jobsite. Upon his return, he saw the excavator – which was an older model that had been purchased used – positioned over the trench, with the operator pinned to a tree and crushed by the machine.


Danger zone: Stand clear of an excavator’s swing pivot area

The accident: A contractor was removing tree stumps on a road project and processing the stumps and other wood debris in a tub grinder. An excavator loaded the grinder, operated remotely by a worker on the ground.


In a tight spot: A backhoe’s swing radius is a dangerous spot to be in

The accident: A contractor was operating a backhoe close to a concrete wall. Another worker approached the backhoe on the operator’s blind side and walked between the wall and the swinging structure of the backhoe….


Compaction cautions: Never bypass a machine’s safety features

The accident: Using a borrowed compactor, an operator was compacting soil for a new road. The machine had a faulty starter system – when used on rough terrain, the engine would die, requiring a manual jump start…


Demolition

Demolition dangers: Know what you’re getting into before you begin

The accident: A construction crew was demolishing an addition to a school building when a roof collapsed, seriously injuring two workers.


Crushing blow: Demolition work presents unforeseen risks

The accident: A subcontractor was performing demolition work inside a vacant school when a slab of concrete fell on him. A demolition robot then fell onto the concrete, pinning the worker underneath the slab from the neck down.


Dangerous demo: Demolition work is unpredictable — be ready for any hazard

The accident: A construction company was demolishing a two-story warehouse. A large portion of the building had already been razed when the second floor collapsed…


Demo dangers: Knowledge is the key to staying safe during demolition

The Accident: An ironworker for a steel erection company was performing demolition work on a hollow block wall inside a building. An opening had been cut in the wall for a doorway, leaving 16 inches on either side, and leaving the header beam suspended without support.


Electrocution

Powered for safety: Use caution when using the tools of the trade

The accident: One man in a five-man crew was using a jackhammer, which was connected to an extension cord. The jackhammer’s worn extension cord came into contact with standing rainwater, and the man, who was not wearing company-issued rubber boots, was electrocuted.


Electrical problems: Recognize, evaluate and control hazards to stay safe

The accident: A four-man crew was adding space to an existing building by erecting a brick wall. The workers had set up scaffolding, and were pouring grout and inserting rerod into the bricks.


Shock-proof yourself: Know the dangers of working around electricity

The accident: A crew was setting anchors in preparation for utility pole placement, using a boom truck with auger. Each anchor was attached to the auger using a coupling, which then used the auger motor to rotate the anchor and screw it into the ground. An anchor began to wobble during the setting process…


Drill safe: Preparation is the key to safe horizontal directional drilling

The accident: Crews started working on a gas station renovation in an older residential section of a small town. The plans called for a new water run-off drainage line to be installed from the existing structure to a nearby sewer, but there were no existing prints of the service station’s original utility lines.


Prepare not to be shocked: Use common sense when working around electrical hazards

The accident: A crew was working on a landfill gas processing facility installation. While moving a load with a crane, the crane operator touched the boom tip of the crane to an overhead power line with a carrying capacity of more than 12,000 volts.


Falls

Stay in control: The personal fall protection required on boom aerial lifts ensures you don’t take a fall

The accident: A 51-year-old man was transferring a boom lift from one flatbed truck to another. Ignoring a suggestion that he back the two flatbed trucks end to end and drive the lift across from one truck bed to the other…


Keep your balance: Make sure all portable ladders — whether manufacturer or job-made — are secure and in the right position

The accident: An employee was climbing a 10-foot ladder to access a landing that was 9 feet above the adjacent floor. The ladder slid down, and the employee fell to the floor, sustaining fatal injuries.


Fatal falls: Know when to move – or when not to move – an elevated aerial lift

The accident: A welder was preparing to survey and weld joints at the top of a steel frame that had just been erected. Using a scissor lift platform to access the work area, he extended the lift approximately 12 feet.


Disastrous drops: Falls are the number one cause of death in construction accidents

The accident: A bridge repair company was performing work on an interstate highway bridge. A barrier wall had been removed and four inches of the concrete pavement had been chipped from the bridge deck…


Don’t slip up: Fall protection keeps missteps from being fatal

The accident: A 42-year-old ironworker foreman was working on a structural steel beam roof. After a crane lifted a beam into position, the foreman noticed it needed adjusting, and set out to use a hammer to straighten it. The area where he needed to work had been barricaded with wire rope safety lines on all four sides, but he removed these lines to gain access to the beam. He was not using fall protection.


Up in the air: Sacrificing safety for convenience could cost you

The accident: A worker was replacing structural steel members on a 280-foot-tall communications tower. Suspended 60 feet in the air, he was preparing to lower himself into position using a controlled descent system. According to a fellow crew member, the worker suddenly dropped to the ground.


Up in the air: Construction falls are all too common – and all too deadly

The accident: A construction crew was removing screws from metal sheets on the roof of a building scheduled to be dismantled. A portion of the roof gave way, causing a worker standing on that section to fall through to ground level and hit his head on the concrete floor.


Unsafe openings: Don’t risk falling when working above ground

The accident: A crew was working in a cement plant that was under construction. A worker climbed on a balcony approximately 50 feet above the ground to retrieve a tank that had been placed on the balcony, and fell through a 48-inch-diameter opening for an air duct installation.


Miscellaneous

Tire troubles: Learning to properly work on and around tire assemblies can prevent explosions

The accident: A mechanic replacing a worn-out brake system on a scraper was attempting to remove the brakes from the hub. Unable to remove them, he used a cutting torch to heat the brake assembly and cut the drum into three sections…


Blown away: Stay out of a tire’s trajectory path during inflation

The accident: A laborer was inflating a flat tire mounted to a multi-piece rim on a wheel loader. He was seated on a chair about 12 inches from the tire’s sidewall, using an air chuck attached to an air line and a compressor.


Handle with caution: Asphalt paving is a carefully choreographed operation where attention to detail is critical

The accident: A member of a paving crew was making adjustments to the hopper of an asphalt paver when a dump truck backed up to the hopper.


You can’t run fast enough: Pay attention to jobsite flammable, combustible fluid handling

The demonstration: Testers ignited one gallon of gasoline inside a car truck. The resulting explosion blasted the trunk lid 80 feet in the air, making it apparent that anyone in the car would have been killed.


Why gamble? You have a wealth of choices when it comes to protecting your eyes

The accident: A worker who was not wearing protective eye wear was using a crowbar to take a nail out of some formwork when a piece of the nail head came off and lodged in the man’s eye.


Worth 1,000 words: Acquaint yourself with common safety decals

It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words, but safety decals on construction equipment are worth more than that – they could save your life. Crucial to preventing injury or even death, these often overlooked cautionary reminders take little time and effort to notice and heed. The following safety pictorials are provided by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.


Handling heat: Beat dehydration by drinking water and knowing when to take a break

The incident: A 25-year-old worker, who had fared well during a week working in 90- to 95-degree temperatures, became sick with a virus over the weekend. The following Monday, however, he felt good enough to work.


Just 14 ounces: That’s how much the average safety hard hat weighs

The near accident: A New York State Department of Transportation worker started sand blasting a bridge in preparation for painting. Although it’s a departmental rule that hard hats must be worn, the job circumstances seemed safe. He wasn’t under traffic, nor was he under an overhead hazard. But several feet away from the worker, a steel hatch suddenly blew off the top of the pressure blasting equipment. The 100-pound hatch flew through the air and struck the worker square on the top of his head.


Protect yourself: Using personal protective equipment can save you from a variety of injuries

The accident: A worker was installing pipe for a newly laid building foundation in a shallow trench while a fellow crew member used a skid steer to backfill with sand. The dirt at the edge of the trench was wet, causing the machine to shift and then tip forward striking the worker’s head.


Gravity shifts: Take extra care when using a skid steer on a slope

The accident: While moving a load of gravel down a hill, a skid steer became unbalanced, prompting the operator to put his leg out to brace himself when the machine surged forward and then died. The operator’s leg became trapped between the machine and the loaded bucket, compressing his leg above the ankle.


Run Over / Back Over

In harm’s way: Avert danger by knowing where moving equipment is at all times

The accident: A skid steer operator was backdragging a section of a concrete contractor’s yard used for concrete testing. A cement truck driver approaching the construction trailer failed to use the sidewalk, instead walking through the area behind the skid steer.


Dump truck dangers: Stay away from backing vehicles

The accident: Two dump truck drivers in a work zone were instructed to switch trucks. One of the drivers exited his truck and walked to the rear towards the other vehicle.


Perilous paving: Nighttime paving projects offer unique hazards for workers

The accident: A paving crew was milling and repaving a parking lot at night. A laborer was assigned to walk alongside a cold milling machine, acting as a spotter for the operator as well as monitoring the cutting drum area.


Be wary of work zones: Know how to stay safe when there’s a lot going on

The accident: A heavy equipment operator was part of a crew working on a resurfacing project for a county road. In need of a restroom, but with none available…


Hazards of the road: Working is a two-pronged safety proposition; both you and the drivers need to be on high alert

The accident: A worker was cutting concrete along the white center line of a four-lane highway. Orange reflective barrels closed the left lane to traffic, which was routed to a single lane.


One-man machines: The operator should be the only person on a wheel loader

The accident: Crews were working at night to replace aging cast-iron water pipes in an intersection. One worker was standing in the street, guiding the operator of a wheel loader as he backed out into the intersection. After the loader stopped backing up and started moving forward, the worker decided to hitch a ride, and grabbed the loader’s side ladder.


Dump truck dangers: Don’t assume a driver knows you’re near the truck

The accident: A milling machine was removing asphalt and depositing it in a dump truck. An engineering technician stepped behind the dump truck just as the truck driver began backing toward the machine.


Asphalt paver precautions: These wide machines require the crew’s attention

The accident: One crew member started to move an asphalt paving machine, and struck another laborer, who became trapped under the machine. The paver operator left the site before emergency personnel pronounced the laborer dead.


Steer clear: Be alert, aware and where you’re supposed to be

The accident: A laborer was tasked with moving mortar from the mixer to the jobsite’s staging area. The mortar was located under a tarp-covered area. Exiting the tarp area backwards and in a crouched position, the worker did not see a skid steer operating nearby.


Work zone woes: The busier the zone, the greater the risk

The accident: A dump truck driver was transporting a load of asphalt through a work zone during a nighttime paving project. In backing up to the next section to be paved, the driver felt a bump and then noticed the victim appear from under the front of the truck.


Look out: Every month, at least one construction worker is killed when backed over by a construction vehicle in a work zone

The accident: A 10-member crew was replacing expansion joints on a bridge in the right, outside lane of a highway. A worker driving a truck backed over a fellow worker walking in the closed, orange-coned lane.


Alert and aware: Know what’s around you – and behind you – at all times

The accident: A welder was working on a newly-laid section of rail when a wheeled excavator operator backed over his left arm. The machine’s wheel forced the welder’s arm into an inch-wide gap in the rails, severely crushing the limb.


Tip Over / Roll Over

Keep your balance: Moving materials with a backhoe calls for extreme care

The accident: A crew replacing cracked drainpipes used a backhoe to carry replacement concrete pipes to a utility trench. The backhoe operator lifted several pipes from the bed of a truck onto the loader bucket and began moving across the rubble-covered worksite towards the trench.


Know when to park it: Steep slopes, unstable ground can put you in perilous position on a roller

The accident: A 41-year-old roller operator was working on a road extension when his machine rolled sideways down steep embankment. The man was partially ejected, crushed and killed by the machine as it rolled.


A crushing blow: Secure yourself in the event of a rollover

The accident: A worker was operating a compactor on a dirt ramp as part of a highway expansion. While she was backing the unit for another pass, the compactor slipped off the edge of the road surface and tipped, partially throwing her from the machine and pinning her underneath the rollover protective structure.


Strap yourself in: Once in the cab, truck safety begins with a seat belt

The accident: Operating a truck, an operator lost control as he backed toward a steep embankment to dump a load of dirt. The truck began sliding backwards and did at least one complete rotation before coming to a stop. The operator, who was not wearing a seat belt, sustained head and torso injuries and was taken away from the site in critical condition.


Emergency exit: Proactive planning will help you escape in the event of a tip-over

The accident: The owner of an excavating company was digging test holes near a gravel pit pond to determine soil composition for a potential construction project. To access the opposite side of the pond, the contractor drove the excavator on the sloped bank next to the water’s edge. The bank sheared away, causing the excavator to tip over into the pond onto the cab…


Balancing act: Keeping a level load helps ensure your dump truck remains upright

The accident: Two dump truck operators were moving dirt to build an embankment as part of a highway project. The driver of one truck thought his dirt was emptied and pulled forward, tipping onto an adjacent dump truck.


Trailering troubles: Use your best practices when driving machines on and off a trailer

The accident: The owner of a small construction company that performed excavation work was preparing to backfill a pond. He had transported a dozer to the site on a flatbed trailer, which he parked on a road with a 7-percent grade. While backing the dozer to the rear of the trailer, the machine slipped off the trailer’s down grade edge…


Careful compaction: Ignoring safety procedures could be a costly mistake

The accident: An operator was running a compactor over a newly created gravel shoulder on a road improvement project. In attempting to maneuver the front tires around a road sign, the operator drove the compactor too far off the shoulder and onto a 15-degree slope.


Slippery slopes: Stay aware of changing soil conditions when using a trencher

The accident: A crew was installing underground telecommunications cable when the trencher operator started to maneuver the trencher out of a ditch on the edge of roadway. The shoulder of the roadway gave way and caused the machine to roll toward the ditch.


Stay put: You’re safer inside a tipping forklift than outside

The accident: After putting his machine in reverse on some banking, a rough terrain operator felt his machine start to tip. Panicking, the operator threw himself from the forklift and was immediately crushed by the tipping machine.


Transporting Machines

Heavy load: Trailer overloading may harm both your load and the traffic around you

The accident: A pickup truck was towing an overloaded trailer when it caused a multiple-vehicle accident, closing one road for several hours and sending four people to the hospital. The trailer, carrying a skid steer, weighed 9,220 pounds, well over the 3,700-pound weight limit of the trailer hitch.


Tricky transport: Hauling equipment safely means more than just load-and-go

The accident: A tractor-trailer hauling construction machines rear-ended a pickup truck with two men inside. The tractor-trailer ended up on top of the pickup before going off the road.


Hauling headaches: Know your load limits when trailering equipment

The accident: A driver was transporting a wheel loader weighing approximately 65,000 pounds on a lowboy trailer, secured by four 3/8-inch chains…


Safe hauling: Learn your load limits when trailering heavy equipment

The accident: Going down a busy Interstate, a construction supervisor was hauling a backhoe on a trailer. The backhoe flipped off the trailer, falling onto a minivan…


Lethal loads: Unloading a trailer can be deadly unless you follow the proper procedure

The accident: A truck driver was unloading wood chip material from his open-top trailer via a moveable floor conveyor unit. During the unloading process, the load became jammed, and the driver climbed to the top of the trailer to clear the obstruction.


Trenching

Treacherous trenching: Knowing the guidelines keeps you out of harm’s way

The accident: Two laborers were installing water lines in a 9-foot-deep, 7-foot-wide trench with vertical walls. A corner of the trench collapsed, pinning one worker under a large chunk of dirt.


In the trenches: One of the most preventable accidents can also be the deadliest

The accident: Three workers were repairing a water main break in a 7-foot-deep, 5-foot-wide excavation. To expose the water main, one worker working with a shovel at the bottom of the trench undercut the roadway.


Shoring things up: Use required protective systems when working in a trench

The accident: Two laborers were installing conduit in an 8-foot-deep by two-foot-wide trench. The crew leader, who was digging the trench with a backhoe, left the area to go to the company trailer. The two laborers continued to work alone…


Don’t enter unprotected trenches: Following proper procedure minimizes cave-in risk

The accident: An excavator operator removed a trench shield to access broken pipe. The trench wall caved in, burying two workers.


Heavy loads: Soil exerts tremendous pressure during cave-ins

The accident: Working in the December cold, a utility construction worker was helping install a sewer line in a 25- to 30-foot-deep trench. A steel trench box was in the excavation but was not large enough to reach the bottom of the trench.


Trench troubles: Shortcuts can be deadly

The accident: A subcontractor was removing old gas, storm and sanitary sewer lines on a site to prepare for new utility lines. A laborer was working in an 8-foot-deep trench on the abandoned gas line, which was a 600-foot-long high pressure line with a 10-inch steel casing…


Welding

Treacherous tire repair: Taking shortcuts can lead to disastrous results

The accident: A welder repairing leaks on a skid steer’s rim wheel used a flammable inflation product on the tire. He began to weld holes on the rim wheel, and the wheel exploded.


Welding worries: Things you can’t see can kill you

The accident: A construction worker was welding a catwalk to a 15-foot-tall waste oil tank. Vapors from the tank ignited, causing an explosion that launched the worker into a truck parked more than 100 feet away…


Fuel tank troubles: Take special precautions when welding on diesel tanks

The accident: A welder had been instructed to find the leak on a truck’s diesel fuel tank. Once he located the leak, the worker was assigned the task of using a MIG/Flux welder to repair the tank. When the welder struck an arc with the torch on the tank, the tank exploded.


Hidden dangers: Invisible vapors can be deadly when welding

The accident: A worker was repairing a truck body alone in his company’s shop, using an arc welding system to weld pieces of steel together and then attach them to the body near the rear of the truck.


advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement