A young worker involved in the production of Kanye West’s Yeezy brand of shoes was seriously injured when a heavy piece of machinery fell on his leg, trapping him until help arrived. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also refer to incidents like these as “caught in or between” or “struck by” hazards. These types of workplace accidents are the cause behind thousands of preventable workplace injuries and fatalities every year.
Struck by and caught in or between hazards fall under what’s known as OSHA’s “Fatal Four”, or the four most fatal and injury causing hazards in the construction injury. Caught in between and struck by hazards account for almost 20% of fatalities in that industry, and are typically categorized by the following scenarios:
The employee at West’s company was helping his coworkers move a large 3D printer when it tipped over and trapped his foot underneath. It took seven people working together to lift the equipment and free the man. The extent of the worker’s injuries are not yet known, but caught in or between and struck by hazards can result in serious medical complications like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, broken bones, crushing injuries resulting in amputation, as well as fatalities. In this case, the employee luckily survived the incident.
Neither OSHA nor the company have released the details of what caused the accident. What we do know is that employers are legally required to comply with federal standards to protect their employees. Too often workplace safety failures culminate in deadly injuries, and data indicates that certain workers are already at greater risk for getting hurt on the job than others. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), individuals employed in construction and the agriculture/forestry/fishery industries are more likely to get injured than workers across other industries. Both older (55+) and younger (18 to 25-years-old) workers are also high-risk groups.
In order to keep workers safe, employers need to implement effective safety and health programs. With known hazards, there are many helpful steps to limit preventable worker injuries and deaths. Employers can help safeguard against accidents where workers get caught in or between fixed objects and heavy equipment or struck by objects/equipment by:
When it comes to moving heavy workplace equipment and machinery like the 3D printer that injured Kanye West’s employee, it’s critical that job supervisors first evaluate what resources are necessary to ensure employee safety. Otherwise, workers are faced with an array of potential injuries because of risks that accompany dangerous work tasks. For transporting heavy equipment for example, there are options like using machinery movers, roller skids and more. Research consistently shows that when employers and employees come together to take precautions in the workplace, workers are best protected.
No matter what position and industry a person is employed in, it’s important to know what an employer’s obligations are as well as what every worker can do to stay safe on the job. Under federal OSHA guidelines, every worker is entitled to a safe workplace free from known safety and health hazards. Workers are also entitled to be trained in a language they understand, be provided with required safety gear and even get copies of tests done to identify hazards in their workplace.
When an employee is injured in a struck by or caught in or between accident, it can be the result of safety failures in the workplace. To find out if you may be able to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, please contact our Philadelphia Workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.