Exploring Caught-In and Caught-Between Hazards: Machinery’s Role in Construction Accidents

Machinery's Role in Construction AccidentsSince 2008, the construction industry has reported more total deaths than any other industry. Construction workers also face higher injury rates compared to most other professions and are at an increased risk of hearing impairment, mobility problems, and respiratory issues. One of the biggest reasons for these statistics relates to the large pieces of machinery many workers operate daily. These machines can cause serious injury and even death when someone becomes caught between them and another object. These accidents are known as caught-in or caught-between accidents, where workers are crushed, squeezed, or compressed between two or more objects or surfaces. Learn more about these accidents, how they can happen, and when to call a Santa Rosa personal injury lawyer for help.

The Fatal Four

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the “Fatal Four” types of accidents account for the highest number of fatalities in the construction industry.

  • Falls. Falls from heights, such as roofs, ladders, or scaffolding, are a major cause of death and serious injury in construction.
  • Struck by Object. Workers can be struck by objects such as tools, equipment, or materials, leading to serious injuries or death.
  • Electrocution. Contact with electrical hazards, such as overhead power lines or faulty equipment, can result in electrocution.
  • Caught-in or Caught-between. This happens when workers are caught in or caught between objects or equipment.

Caught-in or between accidents occur when workers are crushed, squeezed, or compressed between two or more objects or surfaces. Examples include being caught in a trench collapse, between a vehicle and a wall, or in machinery such as a conveyor belt. These accidents can result in serious injuries or even death.

Which Types of Objects Can Contribute to Caught-In or Caught-Between Incidents?

Construction sites are dangerous places filled with opportunities for a worker to get trapped accidentally. Because of this, caught-in or caught-between incidents in construction can involve various types of objects and situations.

  • Machinery. Workers can become caught in moving machinery or equipment, such as gears, rollers, or belts. Lack of machine guarding or failure to follow safety procedures can increase the risk of these accidents.
  • Trenches. Workers can become trapped and crushed by soil, leading to serious injuries or fatalities. Proper trench shoring and protective systems are essential to prevent these incidents.
  • Vehicles. Getting caught between a vehicle and a stationary object, such as a wall or another vehicle, is another worksite hazard.
  • Materials. Heavy materials, such as concrete panels or steel beams, can fall or collapse, trapping workers.
  • Tools. Hand or power tools can cause injuries if they malfunction or are used improperly, leading to workers being caught or crushed.
  • Confined Spaces. Workers can become trapped or pinned in confined spaces, such as tanks or silos.

These are just a few examples, and the specific hazards can vary depending on the construction site and the nature of the work.

When Would Working with Machinery Be a Common Type of Caught-In and Caught-Between Hazard?

Working with machinery can be a common type of caught-in and caught-between hazard in construction whenever workers are operating or maintaining heavy equipment or tools. Certain situations can increase the risk of one of these accidents occurring.

Operating Equipment

Workers can be caught in moving parts or between the equipment and other objects during the operation of machinery, such as excavators, cranes, or forklifts. This can happen if they reach into a machine’s operating zone or if the machine malfunctions, resulting in serious injuries or loss of limb.

Maintenance and Repair

Workers may need to access its internal components when machinery requires maintenance or repair. Without proper lockout/tagout procedures or machine guarding, employees can get caught in the machinery’s moving parts.

Handling Materials

Using machinery to lift or move materials can also pose caught-in or caught-between hazards. If materials are not properly secured, or if there is a failure in the lifting equipment, workers can be trapped or crushed.

Using Tools

Power and hand tools can also present caught-in or caught-between hazards if workers improperly use them or if they remove safety guards. For example, a worker’s clothing or body parts can get caught in a power tool’s moving parts.

Transporting Equipment

Loading and unloading machinery onto trailers or trucks can also be hazardous if proper safety procedures are ignored.  Workers can become caught between the equipment and the vehicle or other objects, such as falling cargo.

Common Caught-In/Between Accident Injuries

Caught-in or caught-between incidents in construction can lead to a variety of serious injuries, which can include:

  • Crush injuries—severe tissue damage, broken bones, and internal injuries that can be life-threatening and may require immediate medical attention;
  • Amputations—loss of limb that can have long-term physical and psychological effects on a victim;
  • Fractures—bone injuries that vary in severity depending on the location and extent of the break;
  • Lacerations/abrasions—superficial injuries that can range from minor cuts and scrapes to deep wounds requiring stitches or staples; and
  • Internal injuries—damage to organs or internal bleeding that may be life-threatening.

Some injuries, such as crush and internal injuries, may not be as immediately apparent as others but can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. If you are the victim of one of these injuries, seek medical help as soon as possible, and then seek the advice of a personal injury attorney.

Trust the Construction Accident Attorneys at Henderson Law

If you’ve suffered a construction site injury, dealing with a legal or workers’ compensation claim while trying to recover can be overwhelming. But you have rights, and at Henderson Law, we are here to help you navigate the process. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys understands the complexities of construction law and will fight to get you the medical attention and compensation you deserve. Caught-in and caught between accidents can be life-changing, but you don’t have to handle the aftermath alone. Give our office a call to set up a consultation or fill out our online contact form to get started.