In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional Office of OSHA have involved vehicle accidents that struck employees in the workplace.
Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional vehicles, forklifts, semitrucks and other moving industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. OSHA is continuing its Regional Emphasis Program (REP) in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska with the goal of educating employers and workers about the hazards associated with these vehicles and preventing tragic incidents. The REP is intended to address hazards associated with the operation of motorized equipment in construction, general and maritime industries.
"Fatalities occurring from vehicles striking workers are senseless and preventable," said Marcia Drumm, acting regional administrator for OSHA in Kansas City. "This REP allows OSHA inspectors to evaluate compliance with associated standards when conducting all inspections and focus on these real dangers."
Of the 37 vehicle-related fatal incidents inspected by the OSHA Kansas City Region during fiscal years 2008 through March 2013, 57 percent involved a vehicle striking another worker. In the remaining 43 percent, the operator was the victim.
More than one-third of the incidents involved either forklifts or semitrucks, and fatalities occurred across industries and company sizes. Seventy percent of the fatal incidents occurred at general industry work sites, while 24 percent happened in construction. Nineteen percent of the struck-by-vehicle fatalities were at employers with 10 or fewer employees; 46 percent were at midsize companies with 11-100 employees; and the remaining 35 percent were at larger employers with more than 100 employees.
In addition to inspections following up on complaints and referrals received regarding these vehicles, the REP allows continued evaluation of compliance with all applicable vehicle-related standards during any OSHA inspections in the Kansas City Region.