Run Over by Equipment

Tennessee Construction Injury Law: Run Over By Equipment

run over by equipment concept - Construction heavy equipment loader and bucket on jobsite

Construction sites are major hubs of bustling activity, home to a consistent stream of vehicles, workers, equipment, and other tools. Occasionally, such sites will be situated on busy public roads or highways, increasing the possibility of serious injury and even death. The experienced construction injury attorneys at InjuryTN understand that when construction workers are run over by vehicles, equipment, and other heavy machinery, the injuries can be severe.

Workplace injuries sustained on construction sites can often include the following:

  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Fatality
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Internal wounds

Struck-by Injuries in Construction Accidents

“Struck-by” injuries, as they are so called, are one of the leading causes of construction accident injuries and fatalities in the United States. As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 75% of all struck-by fatalities involved some kind of heavy machinery or equipment.

Over the last 10 years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reviewed nearly 1,000 cases which revealed that 46% were caused by a worker having been struck by a moving vehicle or mobilized equipment. In almost 150 of those cases, the equipment was being backed up, and more than half of those cases involved a dump truck.

When construction workers are run over by vehicles or equipment, there are numerous possibilities when it comes to determining liable parties. Some examples of parties which could be held responsible for the accident include:

  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Property Owners
  • Operators of vehicles and/or other mobile equipment
  • Maintenance personnel for vehicles or equipment
  • Manufacturers and distributors of vehicles and equipment
  • Fellow construction workers

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Backover Construction Accidents

Although it’s always preferable to avoid struck-by accidents at any position or angle, backover construction accidents in particular pose a serious threat to workers for a multitude of reasons. Often, the primary concern is that the operator is not facing the victim when backing up, resulting in a delayed reaction from the victim which carries serious consequences. Backover accidents tend to occur when a single vehicle moving in reverse hits a worker who is often standing, kneeling or walking behind it. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that almost 70 construction workers suffer fatal injuries caused by backover accidents.

Recent reports from OSHA have shown that the vehicles with the highest probability of being involved in a backover accident included:

  • Dump trucks
  • Forklifts
  • Garbage trucks
  • Pick-up truck
  • Semi-Trucks/Tractor Trailers
  • Trucks

Causes of Construction Run Over Accidents

Incidents like this can take place in numerous different ways, and for a myriad of different reasons. Sometimes, cases will involve drivers who are not able to clearly see workers in their blindspot. Other instances may occur due to the inherently loud and chaotic, where safety mechanisms like back-up alarms might be rendered useless. Furthermore, such safety mechanisms like these alarms and even flashing lights could be malfunctioning.

When workers hitch a ride on a vehicle’s rear, there is always a chance of falling, which can also result in a backover accident. Spotters who help with a singular vehicle may become so wrapped up in their current task that they are unable to recognize other vehicles coming closer from behind. Additionally, the operators of these heavy vehicles might not exercise due caution or make the presumption that their surroundings are clear without checking first to be safe.

Methods used for preventing backover accidents on construction sites may include:

  1. Using spotters when any vehicle is in reverse or backing up
  2. Display monitors inside the vehicle which provide visibility of what is behind the driver
  3. Proximity detection devices used to alert operators of surrounding people or objects
  4. Internal traffic management planning specific to the work site

Protection for Construction Workers

Ultimately, those who are managing or supervising a job site will be responsible for ensuring precautionary safety measures are in place to protect their workers. This entails ensuring that the job site is completely cleared and organized, all workers and machine operators have the appropriate training, and that they are all adequately equipped to complete the job. However, since it’s the workers who are on foot and potentially risking their lives to accomplish their assigned task, they are entitled to perform defensive actions to protect themselves from foreseeable danger. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggests all workers abide by the following guidelines:

  • Wear clothing which has high-visibility and is suitable for the job being completed.
  • Maintain awareness of all surroundings, including equipment as well as driver blind spots.
  • Effectively communicate with operators using signals prior to approaching a vehicle
  • Always listen for signal alarms and other warning mechanisms
  • Do not rely solely on any one safety precautions. Rather, you should incorporate as many as possible.

Contact the experienced construction injury attorneys at InjuryTN to set up your free initial consultation and discuss how we can protect your rights. For all personal injury cases, there are no costs or fees until we win your case.

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