A man working at a scrap metal yard in Prince George’s County died after a dump truck backed into him, The Associated Press reports. Police say the incident occurred at a recycling facility on Kenilworth Avenue in Capitol Heights. A man who was driving the truck did not see his co-worker as he backed up and struck the man. He was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), getting struck by objects or vehicles is the leading cause of construction-related deaths. Approximately 75 percent of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, such as cranes or trucks.
OSHA recommends many ways in which these types of tragic workplace accidents can be prevented:
- 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.
- Check vehicles before each shift to ensure that all parts and accessories are in safe operating condition.
- Make sure that all personnel are in the clear before using dumping or lifting devices.
- Set parking brakes when vehicles are parked and chock the wheels if they are on an incline.
- Use traffic signs, barricades, or flaggers when necessary.
- Workers must be highly visible in all levels of light. Brightly-colored clothing such as red or orange vests is required. If work is done at night, they must also be made of reflective material.
Families of workers who have been killed on the job can seek workers’ compensation benefits from the employer. In addition, depending on the circumstances of the incident, they may also be entitled to third party compensation. An experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorney will be able to advise workers and their families regarding their legal rights and options.