Caught-in or caught-between accidents happen when someone is caught, crushed, squeezed or pinched between two or more objects. Examples include getting trapped between a barrier wall and a piece of heavy equipment, getting your hand caught in an unguarded piece of equipment or being buried by a trench cave-in. Caught- in/between and struck-by accidents account for 27% of all nonfatal injuries involving days away from work for contractors in the highway, street and bridge construction classification (NAICS 237300).


  • Ensure that backup alarms/signals are working on all equipment.
  • Use a spotter when you back equipment or vehicles in areas with obstructed views or congestion.
  • Walk around, NOT between, equipment or vehicles during work activity.
  • Make visual or verbal contact with the operator before you approach equipment or vehicles.
  • When you approach equipment or vehicles, maintain at least three feet of distance from it to avoid contact.
  • Erect barricades, warning lines or other recognized procedures to prevent others from entering an excavator or crane swing radius.


  • OSHA requires trench protection (slope, bench, trench box, shoring) for all excavations five feet or greater in depth.
  • You must maintain all dirt and equipment at least two feet from the edge of the excavation.
  • Ladders need to be accessible within 25 feet.
  • You must remove water accumulation within the excavation, as it can undermine the sides and increase the potential of a collapse.


  • All guards must be in place and in good condition on all power tools and equipment.
  • Never place your hands inside equipment to clean it while it’s operating.
  • Release any stored energy before performing maintenance.
  • Be aware of loose clothing, jewelry, hair or other items that could be potentially caught in rotating equipment.

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OSHA has identified four safety hazards that account for the greatest percentage of all construction worker fatalities each year. OSHA considers caught-in/between hazards as one of the Focus Four Hazards.

Caught-in/between occurs when a person becomes caught, squeezed, crushed, pinched or compressed between two or more objects or parts of an object. Unguarded moving machinery, unprotected excavations and trenches, working between moving materials and immovable structures, vehicles or equipment contribute to caught-in/between hazards. Contractors must be aware of these hazards and avoid them on the job.


  • Maintain a 360-degree awareness (head on a swivel) of moving equipment and vehicles.
  • Do not walk between operating equipment and fixed objects. Walk around.
  • Make eye contact with equipment operators or vehicle drivers before entering the operating perimeter.
  • Employers must use qualified riggers during hoisting activities for assembly and disassembly work (1926.1404(r)(1)).
  • If you’re moving a load that needs to be guided, use a tag line and let the equipment do the work.


  • Secure loose clothing (e.g. untucked shirt, loose sleeves, shoelaces, safety vest, jackets).
  • Moving parts on equipment should be properly guarded. If someone has removed a guard, replace it before you use the equipment.
  • Do not attempt to reach into moving parts unless you shut off the equipment, release all stored energy and lock out the equipment.
  • Remove gloves and secure loose clothing when you use drills and other rotating tools or equipment.


  • A competent person must be on-site during excavation work.
  • Slope or bench all excavations five feet in depth or greater. The angle is determined by the soil type (A, B or C).
  • OR protect the excavation by a trench box the full depth of the excavation or trench.

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According to OSHA, of the 4,779 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2018, 1,008 or 21.1% were in construction — that is, one in five worker deaths were in construction. The leading causes of private sector worker deaths in the construction industry were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6%) the construction worker deaths in 2018.

Fall fatalities – 33.5%
Struck-by object fatalities – 11.1%
Electrocution fatalities – 8.5%
Caught-in/between fatalities – 5.5%


  • Correctly install and use personal fall arrest equipment.
  • Install and maintain guard rails and perimeter protection.
  • Cover and secure floor openings and label floor opening covers.
  • Inspect and use ladders and scaffolds correctly.


  • Do not place yourself between moving equipment and fixed objects.
  • Wear and maintain high-visibility clothes.
  • Use tag lines when moving suspended loads.
  • Inspect and use powered equipment correctly.
  • Use proper rigging techniques.


  • Properly slope or implement trench protection for excavations five feet or deeper.
  • Ensure guards are in place and in good condition on powered tools and equipment.


  • Locate and identify utilities before starting work.
  • Look for overhead power lines when operating any equipment.
  • Maintain minimum approach distance from power lines.
  • Use GFCI on all portable electric tools.
  • Be alert to electrical hazards when working with ladders, scaffolds or other platforms.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.