Run-Over by Operating Equipment
In August 2000, a 20-year-old male who worked in construction was killed in an unsightly accident. We hear about construction accidents all the time, ranging in severity and bringing many types of different injuries. In this case, the man in question was killed when he was run over by a dump truck in a highway work zone. The large project consisted of many workers and the employer himself had been at the site for four months before the incident took place. The dump truck driver involved in the accident had driven dump truck for four years before the incident occurred. However, accidents like this one are always preventable. When safety measures are taken and rules are abided by, run-over accidents should never, ever happen under any circumstance.
Run-over accidents are also known as struck-by incidents, which are all too common in the construction workplace. In fact, approximately 75% of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment like trucks or cranes. You must ask yourself this: Are vehicle safety practices observed at your construction site? If not, then there is a huge and realistic risk of being pinned between vehicles and walls, struck by swinging backhoes, or being crushed beneath overturned vehicles. You also risk being struck by trucks or cars, like the 20-year-old man mentioned previously.
How Can I Avoid Hazards?
Run-over accidents are completely preventable when precautions are taken and regulations are followed. Every construction zone has safety rules and, if followed, you can prevent the risk of being killed in one of these serious accidents. Here are a number of ways that you can protect yourself from run-overs:
- Seatbelts for construction work are made to meet OSHA standards. Unless you are using equipment that has no rollover protective structure, use them always!
- Check vehicles before each shift to make sure that they are in safe operating condition.
- Vehicles should have reverse alarms or other signals if they are to be driven in reverse gear.
- Are the roads that you are driving on safely constructed and maintained? Good – you should never be driving vehicles on roads that are not!
- Before you dump or lift devices, make sure that you and all other construction workers are in the clear.
- Make sure that all vehicles have adequate braking systems and other safety devices.
- Never exceed a vehicle’s rated load or lift capacity.
- If construction is taking place near public roadways, use traffic signs, barricades, or flaggers when necessary.
- Make sure that all workers are wearing warning clothing.
You must understand that there are several ways in which a run-over accident can occur. In many situations, a construction worker will be run over by another worker in the zone who was not taking proper safety precautions. However, these incidents can happen from outside sources as well. For instance, consider a situation where a worker is installing signs on a highway and a commercial truck changes lanes and accidentally enters the work area. The truck strikes a worker and sends him off the road and over a railing, where he falls to his death. In another incident, a construction inspector may be crossing an equipment vehicle route at a construction site, when he is not paying attention and walks into the path of the end loader traveling the route. He is run over and killed without the loader operator ever knowing what happened. The truth is, these accidents can happen in many ways and a worker should always know how to protect him or herself.
Employers and Duty of Care
Your employer may be held liable for damages if you are injured when struck by a vehicle in a construction zone. There are requirements that your employer must meet to assure your safety in a work zone before you enter it. Here are some of the requirements they must meet:
- The employer is required to conduct a hazard assessment and look for potential worksite safety hazards alongside the job-site coordinator.
- They must take into consideration that the work may be conducted in close proximity of a public road or highway. This means that many things must be taken into consideration, such as a situation where a truck enters a roadway and what signs must be placed.
- Legible signs must be posted in construction areas for points of hazard.
- Warning signs must be placed along the road.
- All workers in the construction zone should have a safety and operations orientation to go over safety issues.
- Furthermore, proper training techniques must be used at all time according to standards set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). This means ensuring that hazards are avoided and that all operators are qualified and certified to be working in the zone.
If you believe that you are operating in a hazardous workplace, the OSHA may choose to come in and conduct an inspection. Because of the particular deadliness of run-over accidents, they are best prevented until matters turn into “too late.” Likewise, you may have questions about what you can do if a vehicle has struck you during a construction job. Here are some things that you can do to protect yourself:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Run-over injuries can affect things like your spinal cord, brain, and more.
- Make sure that you always take note after you report the incident to your employer so that you have proper documentation of the incident.
- If somebody witnessed your accident, make sure that you get his or her contact information.
- Try to preserve any evidence of the accident scene, such as photographs of skid marks, injuries, or equipment that was used.
Getting Help From an Experienced Attorney
Being struck in a construction zone makes up one of the “fatal fours”, which are some of the most dangerous accident types seen on the job. Run-over is a type of struck-by accident, which accounts for 9.8% of all construction deaths. This is why it is particularly important to take care and ensure that these accidents never occur. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi is the firm you can count on when it comes to your construction accident and personal injury issues. We have taken many construction cases and gotten many plaintiffs the compensation they deserved. Call us today for more information on how we can help you.