In 2006 in New York, a 47-year-old equipment operator was killed when he was pinned to a tree in the workplace. The culprit? He was operating a hydraulic excavator at the time, which he was operating to move dirt, clear debris, and fill a trench with sand. The lock on the excavator had not been activated at the time and was left to swing around, which gave a worker a chance to attempt and rescue the worker. Unfortunately, it was too late. Construction injuries happen every year and cause injuries and even death in the most serious of cases.
The Reality of Deaths From Excavators
Between 1992-2000, there have been 346 deaths caused by excavators or backhoe loaders in the United States. Two of the most common causes are being stuck by excavator buckets as well as being struck by the moving vehicle itself. However, you could also be injured or killed in an accident involving a rollover, electrocution, and more. The sad reality is that these hazards are extremely preventable but continue to occur because employees and their employers do not recognize the hazards and work to prevent them. Luckily, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested that there are special regulations put in place, as well as protective equipment worn.
There are some things that both equipment operators and site workers should understand when working around excavators. These include the following tips:
- Responsible parties should locate overhead utility lines before starting work.
- Hydraulic excavators should never be operated on grades steeper than the manufacturer suggests.
- Machinery should be a safe distance away from trenches.
- Training should always be conducted for workers.
- Safety programs should be put in place and regularly evaluated.
- Load capacities should never be exceeded when materials are being lifted.
Because heavy equipment in the workplace can be dangerous when it is not controlled properly, it is important to understand how to protect yourself. Have you been injured because somebody was negligently handling an excavator or you were not properly trained? For on the work injuries, call us. We are willing to help you with your case.