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02 February 2015

Construction Accidents: The Dangers of Heavy Machinery

Construction sites are inherently dangerous. From elevated working conditions to hazardous tools and equipment, construction workers face many dangers day in and day out. Among those dangers, the use of heavy machinery and equipment ranks near the top, often leading to serious construction accidents. In this post, we will discuss the use of heavy machinery in the construction industry, some of the dangers that it presents to workers and how you can avoid these accidents.

What Is Heavy Machinery & Equipment?

Heavy machinery, sometimes referred to as heavy equipment, is a broad category that encompasses most heavy duty vehicles and large machines used in industrial workplaces. These large machines are typically used on construction sites for their lifting and earth-moving capabilities. The term heavy machinery can include a wide variety of vehicles and machines including, but not limited to:

  • Cranes
  • Forklifts
  • Dump Trucks
  • Excavators
  • Bulldozers
  • Trucks

Without these machines, many construction projects would simply not be possible. However, the many benefits that heavy machinery can provide are accompanied by the inherent dangers and hazards that they present. When things go wrong, or workers do not operate these machines properly, serious accidents can happen.

Heavy Machinery Accidents On Construction Sites

Accidents involving heavy machinery can vary in their nature and severity. That said, there are certain types of heavy machinery accidents that occur more frequently than others. For example, heavy machinery is involved in 75% of fatal accidents in which a construction worker is “struck-by” something (i.e. object or equipment). To put that into perspective, “struck-by” accidents are the second most common type of fatal accident in the construction industry, just behind fall accidents. Other common examples of construction accidents involving heavy machinery include:

  • Workers Pinned Between Vehicles and Walls/Objects
  • Workers Crushed Underneath Overturned Vehicles
  • Workers Hit By Moving Machines/Vehicles
  • Workers Crushed by Unloading Activity
  • Heavy Machinery Collision Accidents

How To Prevent Heavy Machinery Accidents

While some accidents involving heavy machinery are simply the result of unlucky events, most of these types of accidents are avoidable. So, how can one prevent these accidents?

Adhering To OSHA Safety Standards

For starters, employers and employees should always adhere to all OSHA standards for the use of heavy machinery on construction sites. Unfortunately, safety standards for machinery are one of the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA violations. By following OSHA standards, workers can not only reduce the number of accidents that occur, but can also reduce the the severity of many injuries that occur as a result of unavoidable accidents.

Proper Hiring & Training Of Construction Workers

In addition to following OSHA safety standards, employers should hire workers who are qualified to operate heavy equipment and provide adequate training to employees who are not. Unfortunately, many accidents involving the use of heavy equipment occur because a worker was not qualified to operate the machinery or was not given proper training on the use of the equipment.

Safe Operation of Machinery

Even workers who are qualified to operator heavy machinery can cause accidents if the equipment is not operated safely. Some examples of unsafe operation of heavy machinery includes:

  • Using the Machinery for the Wrong Purposes
  • Exceeding A Machine’s Rated Load or Lift Capacity
  • Driving Vehicles in Reverse Without Visual Assistance

Although these tips may seem like common sense, many workers disregard them and as a result, cause serious construction site accidents.

How A Construction Accident Lawyer Can Help

Have you been injured in an accident involving heavy machinery? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered and the damages that you’ve incurred. Unfortunately, many construction accident victims do not know where to turn for help, and as a result, miss out on the compensation owed to them. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss your legal rights. The construction accident lawyers of The Lipsig Firm are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation for construction accident victims in the shortest period of time.