After manual handling and slips, ‘struck by’ accidents are the third-largest cause of injuries in the workplace. A ‘struck by’ accident is one where an object or piece of equipment impacts a person. These objects could be falling, flying, swinging, or rolling when they strike a person and cause injury. Moving vehicles can also cause ‘struck by’ injuries if they hit a person. Sadly, 17 workers died in 2021 as a result of these incidents in the workplace.
Preventing ‘Struck By’ Accidents
It’s clear that ‘struck by’ accidents pose a serious risk to workers, but what can we do to prevent them? Here are 5 simple safety tips to implement at work:
1. Proper Safety Equipment
It goes without saying that all workers should have the correct personal protective equipment for the job. Employees in construction should wear hard hats and steel-toed boots, for example. Wearing and using the correct equipment can help to prevent ‘struck by’ injuries before work even begins.
2. Sufficient Training
Using heavy machinery and industrial equipment can be hazardous even for people with the appropriate training. Allowing untrained employees to operate such machinery is a recipe for disaster. Ensure that all workers have had the correct training before they use any heavy-duty equipment, especially machinery with moving parts.
3. Stay Alert
Moving vehicles and equipment can pose a serious risk to workers’ safety. Therefore, vigilance is essential. When working around these hazards, be sure to walk behind any moving vehicles/equipment whenever possible. If you are operating moving equipment, make sure you have good visibility of the other people around you so you can see others approaching.
4. Secure Potential Hazards
Falling objects can cause serious injury and even death. However, there are a few simple ways to prevent struck-by-falling-object incidents. Firstly, avoid storing any heavy objects/equipment overhead. Instead, they should be stored as close to the floor as possible. Next, make sure that any loose goods and equipment are stored securely so that they cannot fall or roll away.
5. Work Safely at Height
Working at height presents its own unique hazards, especially in industries like construction. Avoid throwing tools or equipment across platforms or down to the ground, even over short distances. If you are around people who are working at height, never walk directly underneath them if you can avoid it. When working at height over an entrance, you should firstly barricade or close off the surrounding area to prevent others from walking underneath.
6. Be Proactive
When it comes to struck-by accidents in the workplace, prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait for hazards to arise; be proactive at preventing them. This means conducting regular checks and assessments of all machinery, tools, and equipment to ensure that everything is in good working order. Make sure you know how to report a fault if you discover one and avoid using the equipment until it is repaired.
7. Install a Worker Alarm System
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to prevent ‘struck by’ incidents in the workplace. However, it’s important to have a plan in place for when accidents happen. If an employee is injured at work, they need to be able to alert their colleagues or call for help? What if they are working alone or in a noisy environment? Lone worker alarms ensure that workers can call for assistance with just the touch of a button.
To find out more about our Lone Alarms, click here to read our guide or call our friendly team on 0800 03 08 222.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 5th January 2022 to reflect current information.