Struck-by incidents—when an object or piece of equipment strikes a worker—are the #1 cause of nonfatal injuries and the #2 cause of fatalities in the construction industry, according to OSHA.
To raise awareness about this safety hazard, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR ) is hosting the 3rd annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-By Incidents on April 11–15, 2022.
The stand-down is being held at the same time as National Work Zone Awareness Week, which encourages safe driving through road and highway work zones to prevent struck-by injuries to construction and utility workers. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that for every 4 billion vehicle-miles of travel and $112 million worth of roadway construction expenditures in the United States, one work zone fatality occurs. FHA’s data also indicates that fatal crashes inside work zones increased 1.4% between 2019 and 2020 and increased 6.6% outside work zones. This overall increase includes a rise in work zone crashes involving a speeding driver.
An April 2021 study from CPWR found that in 2019, there were 20,600 nonfatal struck-by injuries and 170 fatal struck-by injuries in construction. Of the fatalities, nearly half involved transport vehicles. However, the rate of both fatal and non-fatal struck-by injuries declined by 15%–23% between 2011 and 2019.
According to OSHA, the most common struck-by hazards are flying, falling, swinging and rolling objects, and approximately 75% of fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks and cranes.
“Struck by injuries occur in the electrical industry every day. From utility workers being struck in work zones along the side of the nation’s highways, to the industrial and commercial electricians being hit on construction sites by heavy equipment or having a tool or heavy object fall from above. Awareness, proper planning and tool tethering can prevent many on-the-job incidents that lead to struck-by injuries and fatalities,” said Wesley Wheeler, NECA’s director of safety.
Awareness events during the stand-down include several safety webinars by the NORA Construction Sector Council Struck-by Work Group. The webinars will cover prevention of different types of struck-by incidents, including roadway work zones, heavy equipment and cranes and dropped tools and other objects. A number of resources to raise awareness about struck-by incidents, such as toolbox talks and infographics, are also available on CPWR’s website.
Companies are also encouraged to conduct a safety stand-down with their workers by taking a break to hold a toolbox talk about job-specific struck-by hazards and inspections of safety equipment.