Warehouse Worker Killed
September 1, 2018
The recent death of a 50-year-old New York City marble warehouse worker highlights the all too common and deadly nature of crushing injuries in the workplace. Also referred to as caught in or between injuries, crushing injuries account for nearly 10% of the total worker fatalities that occur in the private construction industry annually.
What are the “Fatal Four”?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the “Fatal Four” are the four leading causes of fatalities in workplaces across the United States. The Fatal Four are:
- Struck by object, and:
- Caught in or between
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 72 caught in or between fatalities in 2016. Altogether, the Fatal Four account for 631 preventable worker deaths every year. These deaths are largely preventable by implementing adequate workplace safety programs, providing employee training, and maintaining enforcement throughout the workplace.
Crushing injuries can be physically catastrophic. We call them caught in or between injuries because they refer to being caught in between two objects, and they can happen with both stationary and moving ones. Some examples of caught in or between workplace incidents include:
- When a worker’s limb (e.g. hand, foot) is pulled into a machine’s moving parts;
- When a trench worker gets stuck because of a cave in, and:
- When a worker gets pinned in between two objects, like a forklift and a wall
There are steps that workers and employers can take to protect against crushing hazards – and the other Fatal Four hazards on the job. Employers are responsible for maintaining active and compliant safety programs, as well as ensuring that equipment is in good working order and regularly inspected, that individuals receive comprehensive training, and much more.
Tips for Employers and Workers
One of the biggest deterrents to worker safety that is in a worker’s control is getting distracted on the job. There are plenty of causes, like:
- Using a cell phone;
- Eating or drinking;
- Listening to music, and:
- Taking your mind – or eyes – away/off of the task
Remember: becoming distracted on the job can culminate in injury causing and deadly injuries. If you need to make a phone call or get a snack, speak with your supervisor about taking a break.
When it comes to employers, there are numerous control measures for effectively limiting crushing and caught in or between injuries and deaths. Some examples of these control measures include:
- Providing machine guarding and prohibiting workers from removing guards while machinery is in use;
- Implementing effective lockout/tagout procedures;
- Ensuring that all raised equipment is supported on the base so that it does not fall over, and:
- Routinely inspecting workplace machinery;
If you were injured at work and have questions about filing a legal claim, please contact a representative at our firm who can help answer your questions.
Allentown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured at Work
If you were injured at work, please contact the Allentown 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.