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Preventing workplace struck-by-object injuries

Being struck by an object remains the second-leading cause of death among construction workers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But the construction industry isn’t the only one that has concerns about such fatalities.

The manufacturing, farming and food industries, which are alive and well in Franklin County, are among the many sectors that understand such risks as well as the importance of proper storage and security, safety training for employees, and maintaining a consistent culture on safety.

There are a few examples of such tragic workplace accidents. In March, a 19-year-old employee died after heavy machinery fell on him at Franklin County manufacturer. Two years ago, a temporary worker died in nearby York County while helping load a 3,200-pound commercial air conditioning onto a trailer when it fell from a pallet and crushed her.

Secure loads, never walk under heavy load

A culture of safety is key at any workplace because employers are so reliant on their employees to keep their business engine running. Below are some tips for both employers and workers for ways that may prevent accidents and injuries from falling objects:

  • Properly secure loads: This includes heavy machinery, equipment and parts.
  • Take extra care when moving loads: A heavy load should never be lifted, lowered or swung over anyone. If a load is being placed on a high shelf with the potential to fall onto the other side, please have a spotter in the area. That person will keep other employees from entering this space.
  • Avoid working in areas where work is taking place overhead. Such areas should be cordoned off. Never walk under a heavy load.
  • Maintain a clean work area. Tools and debris are common causes for falling objects in the workplace. Train employees to clean up and put away their tools after they’ve completed their work.
  • Employers should rely on safety-related administrative control measures that may include using bars across storage areas to prevent materials from falling, or relying nets to capture falling objects such as tools.
  • Wear personal protective equipment such as a hard hat, steel-toed shoes and safety glasses.

In Franklin County, hundreds of people work in many industries that build, create and store materials and products. It’s important for workers to be alert and well-trained when it comes to safety. Collaborate with your supervisors on safety measures. It just may prevent workplace accidents and injuries.

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