Your Guide to a Struck-by Toolbox Talk

02 March 2021

Your guide to covering Struck-by Hazards in a Toolbox Talk

There may not be a mandate for you to carry out toolbox talks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing them regularly, if not daily.

Setting aside time to check-in and talk about important topics that directly relate to what construction crews are working on can severely boost the level of safety on your job site. 

So, what to talk about? Using these short-but-important safety moments on your projects is critical for safety, so naturally, regularly covering the top reasons for injury and fatality is a good place to start as well as keep in your toolbox talk rotation.

Read here: Fall Hazard Toolbox Talk Outline.

In this article, we discuss a top construction project hazard: the Struck-by hazard.

Struck-by Toolbox Talk Topics:

The definition of struck-by hazards

Most common struck-by hazards in construction 

How to protect workers from struck-by hazards

What is a struck-by hazard?

A struck-by hazard is when an impact from an object alone causes harm. When the impact alone causes injury, you’ve got a struck-by incident on your hands. Any impact between a person and an object/piece of equipment would be considered a struck-by hazard.

Struck-by hazards shouldn’t be confused with a caught-in-between hazard. For example, when an injury happens because someone is crushed between objects, that is a considered a caught hazard.

Type of struck-by hazards:

  • Struck-by flying object  
  • Struck-by falling object  
  • Struck-by swinging object  
  • Stuck-by rolling object 

Example of struck-by in constructions:

Struck-by hazards on construction sites could look like the following:  

A construction worker is lifting bricks in a bucket to the top of a building. The bucket tipped, and the bricks dropped out of the bucket, knocking the worker on the head. The worker sustained blunt force trauma to his head and later died in the hospital.

Six workers are installing signs on a highway when an incoming truck switches multiple lanes and mistakenly enters their work area. The truck hits one of the workers, thumping him off the road and over a bridge rail. He falls around 26 ft and dies.  

What are the top types of struck-by hazards in construction? 

  • Struck-by flying object 
  • Struck-by falling object 
  • Struck-by swinging object 
  • Struck-by rolling object

Struck-by flying object example:

When a flying object hazard occurs, it’s when an item or object is thrown, flung, or launched through space. It can involve situations when a piece of material separates from a tool or machine, striking a person and causing injury or fatality.

This can even happen with power by a tool, so it’s important to know the damage your equipment may have. For example, a nail from a nail gun if the nail is propelled from the gun by force and discharges. When working with tools, be aware of fasteners that are designed to go through concrete and steel… If it can go through those materials, it can most definitely go through another person. 

Using compressed air for power tools or cleaning can also cause flying object hazards. 

How to protect workers from struck-by hazards suggested by OSHA:

  • When you’re around Heavy equipment [cranes, excavators, etc.] 
  • Stay away from heavy equipment when in operation. 
  • Stay clear of lifted loads and never work under a suspended load. 
  • Beware of unbalanced loads. 
  • Workers should confirm and receive an acknowledgment from the heavy equipment operator that they are visible. 
  • Be aware of the swing radius of cranes and backhoes and do not enter that zone.
  • Drive equipment [or vehicles] on grades or roadways that are safely constructed and maintained 
  • Make sure that all workers and other personnel are in the clear before using dumping or lifting devices. 
  • Lower or block bulldozer and scraper blades, end-loader buckets, dump bodies, etc., when not in use, and leave all controls in a neutral position. 
  • Haulage vehicles loaded by cranes, power shovels, loaders, etc., must have a cab shield or canopy that protects the driver from falling materials. 
  • Do not exceed a vehicle’s rated load or lift capacity. 
  • Do not carry personnel unless there is a safe place to ride.

How workers can avoid hazards, suggested by OSHA:

  • Wear seat belts when provided 
  • Check vehicles before each shift to assure that all parts and accessories are in safe operating condition 
  • Do not drive a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view unless it has an audible reverse alarm or another worker signals that it is safe 
  • Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked, and chock the wheels if they are on an incline
  • All vehicles must have adequate braking systems and other safety devices 
  • Use traffic signs, barricades, or flaggers when construction takes place near public roadways 
  • Workers must be visible in all levels of light. Warning clothing, such as red or orange vests, are required; and if worn for night work, must be of reflective material 

When working on or near any construction zone: 

  • Wear high-visibility reflective clothing 
  • Do not put yourself at risk of being struck by a vehicle and do not get caught in a situation where there’s no escape route
  • Do not direct traffic unless you are the flagger 
  • Check that necessary warning signs are posted 
  • Never cross the path of a backing vehicle
  • Follow “Exit” and “Entry” worksite traffic plan

PPE for struck-by: Eye and face protection

Safety glasses or goggles should be used any time work operations present an eye injury risk – this can be during welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, or even when working with power tools. 

Wearing hard hats anywhere on a construction site is a no-brainer, but there is a more prominent need for head protection near potential falling objects.

Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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