What are the Most Common Types of Heavy Equipment Accidents?

Those who work in manufacturing, industrial areas, and construction face risks from heavy equipment accidents. Workers in these fields and others are exposed to dangerous situations each day. Even with the best safety equipment and training, injuries and fatalities still regularly occur.

In many cases, these incidents happen because of the carelessness or negligence of an individual, company, or entity. Heavy equipment accidents are serious incidents. Today, we want to discuss the most common heavy equipment accidents.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported during the latest reporting year. Over 5,000 workers lost their lives that year.

Before we get into how these incidents happen, we want to discuss some of the types of heavy equipment most commonly involved in workplace incidents:

  • Backhoes and loaders
  • Bulldozers
  • Cherry pickers
  • Combines and heavy farming equipment
  • Cranes
  • Dump trucks
  • Excavators
  • Forklifts
  • Industrial and factory floor machines
  • Trench diggers
  • Warehouse equipment

When we look at the statistics provided by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), we see that heavy equipment is a leading cause of serious injury and fatal accidents at construction sites.

Heavy equipment alone is not a reason for concern. The injuries and fatalities happen when people become careless or reckless. Some of the main causes of serious injuries involving heavy equipment include:

  • Getting caught in between vehicles or other objects due to a vehicle backing up. This is common when there are large onsite work vehicles with large blind spots.
  • Getting pinned by heavy non-vehicular machinery.
  • Getting struck by falling or discharged objects. This can include dropped loads from excavators, cranes, dump trucks, etc.
  • Getting crushed under collapsing equipment or structures.
  • Falling when getting on or off machinery.
  • Getting caught on and dragged by moving machinery or vehicles.

What are some of the most common heavy equipment injuries?

Those who survive heavy equipment accidents often suffer from severe injuries, including:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
  • Dismemberment or amputation
  • Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Electrical burns

Each of these injuries can cause a victim to incur major medical expenses. However, that is only part of the total picture. There are other hidden accident costs associated with these incidents including:

  • Lost income from time away from work
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Cost of long-term care
  • Caregiver costs (whether professional or familial)
  • Home or vehicle accommodations to help with mobility

Preventing heavy equipment injuries

All federal and state laws should be followed by employers. The best way to protect workers is for companies to focus on safety. This includes providing proper personal protective gear (PPE): gloves, hard hats, eyewear, ear cover, steel-toed shoes, visible clothing, etc.

It is also important that every workplace and worksite have proper safety training and plans in place. Every worker should be properly training to use all equipment necessary for their job, especially heavy equipment operators. Workplaces with heavy equipment are constantly changing. As safety issues arise, supervisors should ensure everyone is aware of hazards.

All heavy equipment and machinery should be regularly inspected and regularly maintained. If a piece of equipment is not working properly, it should not be used until repaired.