Caught-in (or-between) Hazards: What Could Go Wrong?

Caught- in (or –between) hazard in construction causes accidents such as cave-ins during excavation, strangulation as a result of clothing caught in running machinery or being crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects.

Due to caught-in (or -between) hazard, there is also risk of getting pinned between moving equipment and a solid object. Please note that the caught–in (or –between) hazards may sound similar to struck-by hazards mentioned earlier.

Nevertheless, when the impact alone creates the injury, the event is considered as STRUCK. On the other hand, when the injury is created more as a result of crushing injuries between objects, the event is considered as CAUGHT.

In construction sites when machines or power tools are not properly guarded, workers can get their clothing or parts of their body caught in the machines. If machines are not de-energized (locked out) properly during maintenance, they may accidentally start up and catch a worker’s body part or clothing causing serious injury or even death.

You should also look out for Caught-in (or-between) hazards during trenching, scaffolding and building demolition. If one is not watchful enough, unprotected trenches and excavations may create the hazard of cave-ins. Workers who are working underneath large scaffolds may also be buried if the scaffolds collapse. Besides, workers could be buried and crushed by walls that may collapse during demolition works.  

To protect yourself from caught–in (or –between) hazards, moving machinery parts need to be safeguarded properly. Equipment parts such as belts, gears, shafts, pulleys, spindles, drums, fly wheels, chains, or other reciprocating, rotating, or moving parts must be properly guarded, supported and secured at construction sites. Furthermore, make sure to avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that may get caught in such moving parts.

At all times be aware of the equipment or vehicles around you and never place yourself between moving objects and an immovable structure such as wall, vehicle, stacked material, etc.

As a general safety practice, make sure equipment is de-energized and disconnected when not in use, vehicles are tuned off before repair, power sources (such as electric, pneumatic, liquid fuel, hydraulic, etc.) to the equipment are locked out properly before maintenance work begins, etc.

To protect workers on excavation sites, avoid working in an unprotected trench that is deeper than 5 feet. Implement protective systems such as sloping, benching, trench box, shield, shoring, etc. to prevent trench collapse and cave-ins. Enter or exit a trench or excavation only by using a sturdy ladder, stairway or properly designed ramp that is placed within the protected area of the trench.