Types of Workforce Accidents

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A number of transportation companies in the past few years in the Midwest have seen explosive growth. One consequence of bringing new people on-board is an increase in the number of incidents and accidents.

Some say there is no such thing as an “accident.” Things don’t just happen on their own. Many times there are indicators leading up to the actual event, a series of close-calls and near-misses. The warning signs are ignored.

Then something happens. Really quick.

One defintion of an accident is an unplanned event resulting in injury or illness, or damage to property or the environment. Some safety investigators prefer to call all accidents an incident until an investigation is completed and a cause assigned.

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires an accident register for DOT recordable accidents.  The DOT defines an accident as an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle which results in: (a.) a fatality (b.) Bodily injury to a person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident, or (c.) One or more of the vehicles incurs disabling damage, requiring it to be towed from the scene.

The term “DOT accident,” however, does not include:
1. An occurrence involving only boarding and alighting from a stationary motor vehicle;
2. An occurrence involving only the loading or unloading of cargo.

OSHA Wants to Know, Too

Other events, where someone is injured, are covered by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). While loading and unloading trucks, OSHA regulations govern, including “at the dock, at the rig, at the construction site, at the airport terminal and in all places truckers go to deliver and pick up loads.” The trucking industry is addressed in specific OSHA standards for recordkeeping and the general industry. An OSHA recordable accident is a work-related injury or illness that must be reported to OSHA.

New OSHA reporting rules became effective in 2015. Starting in 2015, employers need to immediately report the following to OSHA:

  • All work-related fatalities (report within 8 hours)
  • All work-related inpatient hospitalizations of one or more employees (report within 24 hours)
  • All work-related amputations (report within 24 hours)
  • All work-related losses of an eye (report within 24 hours)

Who is covered under the new rule?

All employers under OSHA jurisdiction must report all work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye to OSHA, even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records due to company size or industry

Employers do not have to report an event or incident to OSHA resulting from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway. However employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone.  Any injuries and illnesses that occur during an employee’s normal commute to and from work are not considered work-related, and therefore not recordable for OSHA’s purposes.

Contract Workers and Temps

OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation at Section 1904.31(a) requires employers to record the recordable injuries and illnesses of contract employees they supervise on a day-to-day basis, even if these workers are not carried on the employer’s payroll. Section 1904.31(b)(2) further clarifies that the host employer must record the injuries and illnesses of temporary workers it supervises on a day-to-day basis. Section 1904.31(b)(3) states that if the contractor’s employee is under the day-to-day supervision of the contractor, the contractor is responsible for recording the injury or illness.

Here are some of the different Types of Workforce Accidents:

Struck-by: A person is forcefully struck by an object.
The force of contact is provided by the object.

Struck-against: A person forcefully strikes an object.
The person provides the force or energy.

Contact-by: Contact by a substance or material that, by
its very nature, is harmful and causes injury.

Contact-with: A person comes in contact with a harmful substance or material. The person initiates the contact.

Caught-on: A person or part of his/her clothing or equipment is caught on an object that is either moving or stationary. This may cause the person to lose his/her balance and fall, be pulled into a machine, or suffer some other harm.

Caught-in: A person or part of him/her is trapped, or otherwise caught in an opening or enclosure.

Caught-between: A person is crushed, pinched or otherwise caught between a moving and a stationary object, or between two moving objects.

Fall-to-surface: A person slips or trips and falls to the surface he/she is standing or walking on.

Fall-to-below: A person slips or trips and falls to a level below the one he/she was walking or standing on.

Over-exertion: A person over-extends or strains himself/herself while performing work.

Bodily reaction: Caused solely from stress imposed by free movement of the body or assumption of a strained or unnatural body position. A leading source of injury.

Over-exposure: Over a period of time, a person is exposed to harmful energy (noise, heat), lack of energy (cold), or substances (toxic chemicals/atmospheres).

Safety Initiatives without any Actions are only Intentions

  • Slips and falls continue to be the biggest problem area for injuries and fatalities. Enforce the three-points-of-contact rule for climbing in and out of the truck and cranking the dollies. Proper non-slip footwear is essential not only in winter, but year-around.
  • Most hand injuries arise from not wearing gloves.
  • Drivers of flatbeds and dumps need to be made aware of the danger zone around the truck when loading or unloading. Drivers of vans and reefers should not be inside the van when powered lift trucks are loading and unloading.

Thank you for reading this. Save a safe day and a great weekend.