Struck-by hazards have been defined as one of the Focus Four hazards identified by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a leading cause of injuries in construction, according to the Quarterly Data Report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training. The other hazards include falls, caught-in-between injuries, and electrocution.
Between 2010 and 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the number of deaths resulting from workers being struck by an object, piece of equipment or vehicle rose 34 percent to 162.
The CPWR report includes deaths and injuries data from workers being struck by vehicles, objects, and equipment, as well as data on the primary sources of those injuries and which worker groups are most vulnerable to such injuries.
The majority of struck-by fatalities between 2011 and 2015, 114, were caused by passenger vehicles, primarily those passing near and through highway work zones. Trucks are second on the list, striking and killing 114 workers in the same time frame, followed by multi-purpose highway vehicles at 85 deaths, and construction, logging and mining machinery at 52 deaths.
Information on the numbers of fatal and non-fatal injuries came from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics departments, the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), respectively. The report also provides solutions to prevent struck-by injuries, courtesy of OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and CPWR.
Key findings from the study include the following:
- From 2011 to 2015, 804 construction workers died from struck-by injuries, more than any other major industry; 52 percent were struck by an object or equipment, and the rest were struck by a vehicle.
- More than half (51 percent) of fatalities involving being struck by an object or equipment were caused by falling objects or equipment.
- The majority (57 percent) of struck-by vehicle deaths in construction occurred in work zones.
- Most (96 percent) non-fatal struck-by injuries were from being struck by an object or equipment.
- The risk of non-fatal struck-by injuries in construction is nearly double the risk of all industries combined.
- Highway maintenance workers had the highest rate of struck-by fatalities, while helpers had the highest rate of non-fatal struck-by injuries.
- Construction workers 65 years or older experienced the highest rate of struck-by fatalities, whereas workers under 20 years had the highest rate of non-fatal struck-by injuries.