Unlike colder northern states, southern states tend to accommodate construction projects year-round due to their milder climates. States like Arizona can see construction workers’ accidents all twelve months of the year. A recent construction site accident in Texas involving a backhoe killed a man after the machine toppled over him, pinning him under the equipment. This marks the second time in a month that a person has suffered fatal injuries in connection with a machinery accident in that area. In the previous incident, a piece of equipment called a “trencher” toppled down a grade and landed on top of another man, killing him as well.
Recent reports are still unclear regarding the identities of the deceased and the exact nature of the accidents. It seems probable that these victims were construction workers since they were both at the site and near the equipment. In any event, construction workers in Arizona may already be aware that working around heavy machinery can present a unique set of dangers and risks.
These recent accidents illustrate one of the safety hazards that construction equipment presents to those who work on or around it. Unlike a lower, more symmetrical vehicle like a car, construction equipment often has an odd shape that may make it less stable. Moreover, construction equipment is often top heavy, and the weight of the machine is usually not evenly distributed. This can make these types of machines prone to rolling over without much warning.
While the design of these machines is entirely understandable given that they have been built to accomplish a specific purpose, it also creates a heightened risk that the equipment will fall. As these tragic incidents illustrate, even those who aren’t actually operating the equipment can get seriously hurt or killed should a machine turn over on its side. Supervisors of construction sites must take every reasonable step to prevent these sorts of accidents, particularly when the machine is being operated on a slope or an uneven surface.
Thankfully, while it cannot undo the tragic results of a construction accident, the Arizona’s workers’ compensation system can at least help a worker’s family recover from the financial blow these sorts of accidents often inflict.
Source: Austin American-Statesman, “EMS: One dead after apparent construction accident,” Ciara O’Rourke, May 21, 2013