The term Caught-in or -Between relates to occupational hazards in the construction industry. The Government of the United States educates and regulates workers and employers of the industry by outlining major hazards that may potentially occur.
Caught-In or –Between is part of four kinds of hazards. The Occupational Safety of Health Administration (OSHA) agency of the United States Department of Labor has classified on-site hazards into four categories:
- Caught-In or –Between
So what exactly is Caught-In or –Between hazard? According to OSHA, it is defined as an accident which involves injuries caused by crushing between objects. To clarify, it is when a worker is squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between objects.
The Following Events are Classified as Caught:
- When a worker is caught or pulled into a machine or equipment. Being pulled into the machine by clothing, for example.
- When a worker is compressed, or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects.
Such events are some of the more gruesome occupational hazards that can leave workers physically impaired or even result in their death. It is easy to see how such accidents can occur. Construction industries rely on machinery that is several times heavier than a regular human, and unguarded when not in operation. Workers find themselves operating heavy equipment that can tip over or are involved in excavation sites that present the danger of unstable walls or structures.
There is a very distinct difference between Struck-by and Caught-in or -Between events. The latter defines when the injury was caused by the impact of the object alone.
Examples of Caught-In or –Between Hazards
- A worker was assigned the duty of cleaning muck off of a conveyer belt attached to a separator. Just as he reached between the feed and return of the belt, the moving belt caught him, leading his hand and arm into a pinch point in the tail pulley, causing a severe fracture in his arm.
- While working under an operating water truck, a screw on the rotating pump shaft caught hold of the worker’s shirt and pulled him into the pump shaft. This lead to the death of the worker.
- A worker was operating a road grader when the engine became unresponsive. Due to the fear of meeting an accident, the worker jumped, but was crushed by the overturn of the road grader, which pulled him under it.
- An unguarded compound miter saw amputated a worker’s thumb just as he was ripping a piece of wood.
- A worker accidentally pulled the drive lever on a man lift, which caused him to be pinned between the l-beam and man lift control panel, thus resulting in his death.
How to Prevent Caught-in or –Between Hazards
As you would have already imagined, these are some brutal punishments for the human body, and can potentially lead to death. Here are some of the ways you can prevent such accidents:
- Employers of such industries must identify all the potential hazards. Both workers and employers must be trained to operate accordingly. OSHA offers 10 Hour Construction Safety Certification for exactly that purpose.
- Before working on machinery, make sure that they are completely powered down. Some machines like conveyer belts may look like they are stationary, but can start moving if they detect a load on its belt.
- Do not wear loose clothes. This presents the danger of clothing getting pulled into the machine. Make sure to wear tight clothes, tuck your clothes in, tie your hair, and ensure that nothing is hanging from your clothes.
- Pay close attention to the task at hand. Do not indulge in activities that may divert attention.
- Educate yourself about the machine you are using. Pay close attention to how it works, what moving parts it possesses, and what the entry and exit points are.
- When working with another employee who is operating heavy machinery such as a truck, it is important to keep coordination to guide and assist in the task. Truck operators, for example, have trouble viewing what’s at their back and how much distance there is to a delivery spot.
Employee safety is tied to its employer’s capability to educate and monitor the workforce. Employees must be given thorough briefs about the safety hazards before being assigned for any work. The Department of Labor sees to it that its prescribed regulations are being followed.