Caught-In, Caught-Between Construction Deaths Rising

two men in safety gear

Caught-in and caught-between accidents are part of OSHA’s Focus Four initiative. The other three types of accidents are falls, struck-by incidents, and electrocutions.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) in a recent report revealed that the number of fatal construction caught-in and caught-between injuries increased 33% from 2011 to 2015, topping the overall 26% increase in construction fatalities for that same period.

In December, the (CPWR) reported that more than 800 construction workers between 2011 and 2015 died in struck-by incidents. Almost 18% of the workers who were killed were hit by a vehicle, and 57% of those accidents happened in a construction work zone. Of those struck by something other than a vehicle, 51% of fatalities were caused by falling objects or equipment.

From 2011 to 2015, 275 construction workers were killed in caught-in/between incidents, which is more workers killed than in any other major industry, according to the report. Nearly 67% of those who died were caught or crushed in a collapse of materials. Of the nonfatal caught-in/between incidents, 93% of injuries were caused by equipment or other objects. The iron working trade had the most fatalities during the study period, while helpers had the highest nonfatal injury rate. Older construction workers were at a greater risk of dying in a caught-in/between accident, and those under age 20 were at a high risk of experiencing both fatal and nonfatal incidents.

Even so, according to OSHA, falls are the biggest cause of accidental death on construction jobsites. Ironically, fall protection, according to the National Safety Council, was the most-cited construction industry violation on OSHA’s most recent annual list. In an effort to reduce the number of falls on construction sites and to send a message to contractors who violate the agency’s fall protection standards, OSHA continues to cite and fine offenders.

OSHA is slapping construction firms with hefty sums for violations. In one of its most recent enforcement actions, OSHA fined an Illinois roofing contractor more than $280,000 after agency inspectors determined that the company exposed workers to fall hazards on six of its projects, all in the Chicago area. Gallardo’s Construction Services was also cited for four willful and three repeat violations related to fall hazards and received nine other citations for other safety issues.

In January, OSHA also cited and fined an Ohio roofing contractor for exposing employees to fall hazards. The agency issued contractor Casey Bortles the citations and a fine of $91,629.

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