Sometimes working conditions can be hazardous to an employee’s health. For example, injuries sustained at work can be so severe that, in some instances, they can result in someone’s death.
Recent data published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that some workers are more vulnerable to suffering catastrophic injuries than others. Crush injuries are among the most catastrophic.
What are crush injuries, and how common are they?
When it comes to workplace-related fatalities, being crushed or caught by something is the third leading cause of death. Crush injuries can take place in many different types of industries. There are two types of crushing hazards. One is a “struck-by” hazard, and the other is a “caught-in” one.
A struck-by hazard is when impact alone can result in deadly consequences, like being struck by a life-threatening object. A caught-in hazard is when a person can be caught between one or more objects and become severely injured or suffocated to death.
How can workers avoid crush injuries?
Some of the hazards employees should be on the lookout for are machines with unguarded moving parts. These hazards can not only cause someone’s death but possibly amputation as well, especially if a person’s body gets caught in the machine. Workers should also be cautious of any materials that may shift or collapse, causing them to become buried, such as dirt, grain, or prone objects.
Other potentially disastrous situations are those in which someone becomes pinned between two stationary or moving objects.
All equipment should have crushing guards that workers shouldn’t remove while the machine is in use. Guards shouldn’t create an additional hazard by creating an opportunity for a worker to get caught between it and the machine. Any elevated equipment needs securing so that it doesn’t have the potential to fall. Any equipment not in use should be stored in a way to prevent it from collapsing or shifting. All of these approaches can prevent crush injuries.
If you were crushed by equipment while on the job, you have a right to seek the compensation and benefits that are available. Learn more about your options today.