Caught-In or -Between Hazards

Dump trucks have caught-in hazards
Are there potential caught-in or –between hazards in this picture?

According to OSHA, caught-in or -between hazards are defined as: Injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object. This includes individuals who get caught or crushed in operating equipment, between other mashing objects, between a moving and stationary object, or between two or more moving objects.

The key factor in making a determination between a Caught event and a Struck event is whether the impact of the object alone caused the injury. When the impact alone creates the injury, the event should be recorded as Struck. When the injury is created more as a result of crushing injuries between objects, the event should be recorded as Caught.

Events that should be classified as Caught include:

  • cave-ins (trenching);
  • being pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment (this includes strangulation as the result of clothing caught in running machinery and equipment); and
  • being compressed or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects such as semi-trailers and a dock wall, or between a truck frame and a hydraulic bed that is lowering.

Common Types of Caught-In or-Between Hazards in Construction

Focus Four Fall Hazards Statistics
Do you see any caught-in or –between hazards?

Some of the working conditions which contribute to caught-in or-between hazards include:

  • machinery which has unguarded moving parts or is not locked out during maintenance;
  • unprotected excavations and trenches;
  • heavy equipment that tips over, collapsing walls during demolition; and
  • working between moving materials and immovable structures, vehicles, or equipment.

1. Which of the following accidents would be classified as a "caught-in or -between" accident?

a. Running into a closed door
b. Being buried by grain in a silo
c. being hit by a piece of lumber
d. being crushed by a rotating crane

Next Section

Examples of Caught-in or Caught-Between Hazards

Read the following accidents and think about how each could have been prevented.

  • A worker was ripping a 6-inch piece of wood on an unguarded compound miter saw. His left thumb was caught in the saw and amputated.
  • An employee was performing diagnostic work on a water truck at a construction site. The worker crawled under the operating truck. The employee’s work shirt collar and coveralls became caught on a projecting set screw on the rotating pump shaft. The set screw pulled him into the pump shaft.
  • A worker was cleaning an asphalt paving spreader. Another worker was repairing a pavement roller. The roller was accidentally put into motion and it rolled toward the spreader. The first employee was injured when he was pinned between the two machines.
  • A worker was operating a road grader when the engine died, and the vehicle began to roll toward a small ravine. The employee jumped off the grader but was pulled under the grader as it overturned. He was killed when he was crushed underneath the tires.

Try to identify the hazards in each picture below. Then click on each picture to see if you correctly identified the hazards.

Pinned between
Click to review hazards

2. Construction workers may have exposure to _____ hazards if they operate unguarded saws.

a. caught-between
b. caught-in
c. contact-with
d. contact-by

Next Section

Machinery with Unguarded Moving Parts

Almost all sites use machinery that has moving or rotating parts or that requires maintenance or repair at some point during construction. If machinery is not properly guarded or de-energized during maintenance or repair, injuries from caught-in or –between hazards may result, ranging from amputations and fractures to death.

When power tools are not properly guarded, workers can get their clothing, gloves, or parts of their body caught in the rotating parts of the tools. If machines are not de-energized (locked-out) when they are being repaired, they may cycle or otherwise start up and catch a worker's body part or clothing and cause injury or death.

Workers can be trapped and crushed under heavy equipment that tips, especially if they are thrown from the equipment.

Practice Identifying Hazards

Try to identify the hazards in each picture below. Then click on each picture to see if you correctly identified the hazards.

Machinery with Unguarded Moving Parts
Click to review hazards
Machinery with Unguarded Moving Parts
Click to review hazards

3. Wearing gloves when operating a bench grinder may result in _____.

a. electrocution
b. an ergonomic injury
c. a struck-with injury
d. a caught-in injury

Next Section

Buried-in or -by

Focus Four Fall Hazards Statistics
Trenches are very dangerous. Never enter an unprotected trench.

On construction sites, the major hazard related to buried-in or -by is cave-ins of unprotected trenches and excavations. Cave-ins crush or suffocate workers.

In addition, trenches may contain:

  • hazardous atmospheres;
  • workers can drown in water, sewage, or chemicals in the trenches; and
  • if working around underground utilities, workers may also face burns, electrocution or explosions from steam, hot water, gas, or electricity.

Workers who are working underneath large scaffolds may also be buried if the scaffolds collapse. Workers may be buried and crushed by walls that collapse during demolition.

Workers may also be buried or engulfed by grains and other materials while working in confined spaces such as tanks and silos.


Read the following accidents and think about how each could have been prevented.

  • A worker was in the bottom of a 9.5-foot deep trench, setting grade for concrete pipe while the employer was installing additional shoring. During the shoring installation, the west wall at the south end of the excavation caved-in and covered the worker. There was no shoring or protective system at the location of the trench. The employee was dug out by coworkers and the fire department and survived.
  • An employee and a co-worker were working in a 9-foot deep excavation installing water pipes, when the south side of the excavation caved in on the employee and buried him. The employee was killed.

4. In construction a major cause of buried-in or -by fatalities is _____.

a. drowning in pits
b. confined space engulfment
c. building collapse
d. excavation trench cave-ins

Next Section

Pinned Between

You can be pinned between equipment and a solid object, such as a wall or another piece of equipment; between materials being stacked or stored and a solid object, such as a wall or another piece of equipment; or between shoring and construction materials in a trench. These types of hazards can result in multiple broken bones, asphyxiation, or death.


Read the following accidents and think about how each could have been prevented.

  • An employee was working from an aerial lift, which was in the "up" position, under an I-beam. He accidentally came into contact with the "drive/steer" lever, which made the manlift move. The employee was killed when he was pinned between the I-beam and manlift control panel.
  • Contractor was operating a backhoe when an employee attempted to walk between the swinging superstructure of the backhoe and a concrete wall. The employee approached the backhoe from the operator’s blind side; the superstructure crushed him against the wall.
  • Four workers were in an excavation approximately 9 feet wide, 32 feet long and 7 feet deep. Steel plates being used as shoring, were placed vertically against the north and south walls of the excavation at a 30-degree angle [no horizontal braces between the plates]. The steel plate on the south wall tipped over, pinning (and killing) an employee between the steel plate and the pipe casing. The backhoe was being operated adjacent to the excavation.

Practice Identifying Hazards

Pinned betweeny
Click to review hazards

5. Which of the following would be considered a pinned-between injury?

a. Being crushed by a crane's rotating superstructure
b. Being engulfed by an excavation cave-in
c. An arm pulled into a machine's roller bar
d. Being asphyxiated by rotating parts

Check your Work

Click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

Next Module