According to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the main cause of fatalities within the construction sector is vehicles, followed closely by mobile heavy equipment and machinery.
In 2016 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 991 fatal construction work injuries, having the highest count of all fatal injuries when divided by sector.
Seeing how construction workers are consistently working with, and in close proximity of, extremely heavy equipment and machinery during all working hours, the numbers are really not that surprising.
All the heavy equipment used for construction purposes are considered dangerous to some extent. However, the size of the machinery isn’t the only factor that poses a hazard to construction workers and the public. Other critical factors include improper handling, lack of training of the operators and handlers, and insufficient use of the necessary safety protocols that cause a large number of machinery-related construction fatalities and injuries.
The fact is that all these injuries and subsequent fatalities are preventable through strict adherence to the safety and health protocols mandated for the operation of such heavy machinery. Therefore, it is crucial for every member of the construction industry who works in close association with heavy equipment to be up-to-date with their online OSHA Outreach 10-hour Training Courses.
The online OSHA Outreach 10-Hour Construction Industry Training Course teaches the workers not just about the potential dangers they face in the industry, but also about hazard recognition, control, avoidance, abatement, and prevention.
Here’s a list of the most hazardous construction equipment that are responsible for the highest number of work fatalities:
Cranes are by far the most dangerous heavy equipment machinery used within the construction sector today. In fact, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics report and the CPWR analysis indicate that it has been the most dangerous piece of equipment for the past two decades. According to a CPWR report, it was found that from 1992 through 2006, of all the construction fatalities reported, a staggering 632 were caused by cranes.
One would think that a crane would pose danger only to the construction workers involved directly with handling the machine. In reality though, due to the imbalance of the crane itself, the accidental falling of the loads, or complete collapse of the machinery, cranes are considered a public hazard, with at least one bystander getting injured or killed due to a crane accident.
Bulldozers are known to be the heaviest and strongest of all heavy equipment – well, they’re also the ones responsible for the highest number of construction machinery related fatalities. Of the four thousand recorded construction fatalities, almost 800 of them are directly related to the use of bulldozers.
People can get trapped beneath or inside bulldozers or get crushed inside or by them if they roll over. Workers or bystanders can even be run over by bulldozers should they come in front of its wide flat blade.
3. Dump Trucks
According to OSHA, most injuries in construction are stuck-by injuries. The ill-timed or unintended movements of the heavy machinery, such as the dump truck body, can cause injuries to workers or bystanders. However, that’s not the only way a dump truck can be hazardous.
Dump trucks need to be raised off position to unload the contents using air or hydraulic hoses. An electrical or mechanical fault in the machinery at any given time can cause the body of the dump truck to lose its elevated position, resulting in harm to anyone who is in the way – or those who might be trying to fix the fault.
Backhoe loaders cause an innumerable amount of injuries on any construction site. Though you wouldn’t exactly call them mammoth sized, backhoes are particularly notorious for causing injuries. That is largely because they have a shovel at the front and a digging bucket at the back, making it dangerous from both ends.
Workers can get caught in the way, run over by the machine, pushed by the shovel, trapped beneath the truck in case it rolls over, and struck by the bucket itself or the load of the bucket.
Backhoe loaders and excavators are quite similar since they both have a digging bucket that is used for material handling, demolition purposes, heavy lifting, mining, and more. While excavators don’t have a shovel attached in the front, they are equally, if not more dangerous than backhoe loaders.
Not only can people get hurt if struck by the digging bucket, their overhead utility lines can also give out or break, stop working and cause electrocution, or the hydraulics could malfunction, leading to the toppling over of the entire machine.