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Most of us hear a lot about the dangers of falls and how to prevent them—that’s because falls have consistently been a major cause of injury in Ontario. But in recent years, struck-by injuries have become a close second to falls, even though we don’t hear about them nearly as often.
Struck-by is the term that Ontario’s prevention system uses for the various injuries that occur when workers are hit—or struck—by tools, materials, equipment, or vehicles. Just like falls, struck-by is a leading cause of injury in the industries that IHSA serves.
Throughout May and June, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Labour will conduct an enforcement blitz on struck-by hazards in construction workplaces. MOL inspectors will visit construction sites across the province to check that they are in compliance with legislation and regulations regarding struck-by hazards.
This effort will place particular focus on reversing vehicles and the set-up and layout of worksites to ensure the hazard is eliminated or reduced and that signallers and traffic control persons are in place, have been trained, and are wearing high-visibility clothing.
While this is the main focus of the MOL blitz, there are a number of other ways a worker can be injured or killed from a struck-by incident. IHSA has compiled some resources, training courses, and products to help reduce the risk of struck-by injuries.
The MOL has put together several videos that can help you work safely and prepare for the upcoming blitz.
A 2012 report on fatalities in Ontario’s construction industry showed that between 1997 and 2011, 91 fatalities fell under the category of struck by/ caught in or between materials and/or equipment. Of these 91 fatalities, 28 were the result of a worker being struck by moving equipment. In 17 of these 28 cases, the equipment was backing up when it struck and killed the worker. In 2014, 6 workers were killed by moving vehicles or equipment, 2 of them by the reversing vehicles they were directing. For more information on controlling vehicles and traffic around a jobsite, visit the Traffic Control topic page.
Many struck-by injuries occur when a worker is struck by an object, such as a piece of falling material or equipment. It is also common for workers who slip or fall to be struck by the tools or materials in their hands. For more information, visit the Slips, Trips, and Falls web page.
Struck-by injuries are a cause for concern in all industries. But among IHSA’s rate groups, most of them happen in General Trucking and Homebuilding. When a worker is hit by something, the part of the body that’s injured most often is the eyes.
IHSA, in partnership with the Civil Engineering Sector Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee, has developed this four-page booklet as a resource during the MOL blitz. By follow these guidelines, you can reduce struck-by incidents when working around heavy equipment, reversing vehicles, and moving machinery. Order or download a copy today.
This pocket-sized booklet can help the traffic control persons (TCPs) on your site learn the signals, signs, and traffic designs for safe traffic control. Click here to order.
These pocket-sized cards can help ensure that operators and spotters follow the same signals.
Volume 13, Issue 3, of IHSA.ca Magazine focuses on the increasing problem of struck-by injuries and ways to prevent them. Order or download the magazine or click on the individual articles.
IHSA provides a number of courses that can help you build awareness of struck-by hazards and reduce injuries and fatalities. Courses are taking place in your area. In addition, IHSA can fine-tune a program specific to your company’s needs and provide training when and where you need it.
Supervisors often conduct on-site safety talks. A five-minute safety talk is hands-on way to remind workers that health and safety are important on the job and can help workers recognize and control hazards. IHSA’s Safety Talks manual (V005) contains over 100 talks. Visit the Safety Talks page or download the sample talks below.