Although not as common as some other kinds of construction site accidents, so-called “caught-in/between” accidents are more frequent than most people think. These accidents occur where a worker is caught under a large, heavy object, or is caught inside such an object, such as might happen during a wall or floor collapse, or when being caught by machinery or equipment. It is the fourth most common cause of work-related fatalities on construction sites, ranking only beneath electrocutions, being struck by objects, and falling. Here are five reasons caught-in/between accidents tend to occur:
- Unguarded moving parts
- Many pieces of construction equipment have moving parts that can easily rip flesh or crush limbs if a part of a person gets stuck inside them. Most of the time, these parts are supposed to be guarded to prevent this kind of injury, but not every employer takes steps to make sure all power tools and other equipment has guards. This makes it more likely that a person’s body will be caught in the machinery, potentially resulting in a severe caught-in/between injury.
- Unsecured equipment or materials
- When not in use, all construction equipment is supposed to be properly secured to ensure it does not fall on people. This includes smaller tools like power drills, but also cranes, forklifts, and other large machinery often used on construction sites. It also includes construction materials like bricks, glass, steel girders, and other materials which could easily injure someone if it fell on them. A shocking number of caught-in/between accidents are caused by large machines and materials tipping over onto people, resulting in broken bones, concussions, and worse.
- When people hear the phrase “cave-in,” a construction site is not necessarily the first place they think of. However, any construction job involving trenching or excavation can result in unstable ground or structures, which can then collapse on unsuspecting workers. Site inspectors are supposed to examine and note whenever they see signs of structural instability, but some contractors or site owners will ignore warnings of a potential “cave-in” choosing to save time and money and sacrificing the safety of its workers. This behavior increases the risk that workers will be caught under collapsing rock or brick, resulting in potentially fatal injuries.
- Pinned by scaffolding
- Scaffolding is intended to be properly secured to prevent collapse when in use. While this is primarily intended to avoid people falling from elevated platforms, the fact is that unsecured scaffolding is just as dangerous to the people below them as it is to the people standing on top of them. Not only can the scaffolding itself be dangerous, but any equipment or materials on the scaffolding can also cause a caught-in/between accident. When scaffolding collapses, it can pin someone beneath, resulting in potentially life-threatening injuries.
- Lack of warning signs
- No matter how many safety measures you implement, some hazards are simply unavoidable on a construction site. When you cannot secure against a hazard, you are at least supposed to ensure hazards are appropriately signposted to prevent accidents and injuries. When site owners or contractors fail to put up appropriate warning signs, it vastly increases the risk of accidents, including caught-in/between accidents. This means appropriately warning others if an area is at high risk of a cave-in, if there is unsecured equipment around, or if there is any other issue that could cause harm to the unwary.
The personal injury attorneys at Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC are experienced in representing clients who have been seriously injured, and the surviving family members of those who have been fatally injured, as the result of construction accidents. The firm’s accomplished personal injury lawyers strive to secure full and fair compensation for their injured clients. With law offices conveniently located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, their personal injury lawyers can vigorously represent clients throughout the metropolitan area, including, in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, and New Jersey. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call (718) 238-2400 or fill out our contact form.