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Caught-In Caught-Between

caught-in or caught-between, OSHA training, Safety Training

Joe Powder

Caught-In Caught-Between injuries  are a common, and preventable, type of accident. At JJ Safety, we thought it was so important, we developed a comprehensive Caught-In Caught-Between  training program that covers this topic. Caught-In Caught-Between hazards are one of the four most deadly hazards in the workplace. 

Each year workers die from ‘caught in-between incidents.  During the year 2020 there were:

  • 231 Caught In-between fatalities
  • 468 Struck by fatalities

Caught-In Caught-Between hazards exist when a worker could be caught inside of or in between different objects. Caught-in or struck-by hazards are often created when working around mobile equipment. 

When working around moving or mobile equipment, be sure to:

  • Never place yourself between a piece of mobile equipment and an immovable object
  • Never work in the swing radius of rotating equipment
  • Always work at a safe distance from equipment

Caught-in or Struck-by hazards also exist when workers remove or disable guards on tools or equipment. Some rules of “thumb” (pun intended) include: 

  • Never place your hands or body near moving parts
  • Gloves, long sleeve shirts, jewelry, or loose-fitting clothing can be hazardous if caught in moving parts
  • Never use equipment that is missing guards or other protective devices

Material handling

Use caution when handling materials. Workers are exposed to caught-in hazards while handling materials.  Caught-in hazards exist when materials are moved by hand or by machines – such as forklifts and cranes. Manual material handling may expose you to crushed fingers or toes when you place the materials on your hands or feet. These injuries can be minor such as bruising or major such as broken bones and amputation. Be extra cautious when moving materials by machine, as the injuries can be more severe.  Be careful to never place yourself between a load of material and an immovable object.

When stacking materials, you may be caught between the materials themselves or between the materials and another object.  Stacked objects can fall on you and trap you between them and an immovable object

Stored materials that have been stacked may shift and fall on you or other workers.  Therefore, it’s important to make sure all materials are properly stacked and stored to reduce the hazard of them falling on and trapping workers

Workers can be crushed between a pallet of materials and a wall or other structure, they can be caught under fallen loads, or they can be under loads that have been set down.

Trenches and Excavations

Excavations are defined as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface, formed by earth removal. Workers in an excavation must be protected from a cave-in.

Trenches are defined as a narrow excavation made below the surface of the ground.  In general, the depth is greater than the width, but the width of a trench is not greater than 15 feet.  

Workers can be exposed to a potential cave-in when there is no protection to prevent the soil from collapsing into the trench while they are working or there is no safe area inside the excavation and then the employees are exposed to a collapse. Workers can be caught-in between the sides of the excavation and pipes or other objects inside the excavation.

Cave-ins are not the only caught-in hazards in a trench or excavation. The work going on in a trench may also create a hazard.  For instance, when laying pipe in a trench, a caught-in hazard exists because workers can get caught between the pipe and the trench walls. Anything being placed into the trench or excavation may be a hazard, including the protection system.  Workers must be careful while installing the protection system, so they are not caught between the trench walls and the protection system.


Of course, the best defense against any type of accident hazard is Identification, preparation and prevention. A willing, positive attitude towards safety will help make a safer work environment. 

Plan your work and look for potential hazards. Recognize each task will have different hazards. Only use tools or equipment with properly guarded rotating or moving parts. Never use or walk up to a piece of equipment with rotating or moving parts that are not guarded. When working near equipment such as cranes use the following to identify the unsafe area near the equipment:

  • Caution or danger tape
  • Physical barricades
  • Flagging personnel

Barricades that are used to protect workers must always be maintained in a good condition.  These barriers cannot be crossed and must be visible from a distance.

Mechanical material handling is used every day to move massive amounts of materials.  Using mechanical means to move materials is not a hazard in itself. The hazards arise when you place yourself between the load and something that does not move.  That is when you get caught between the load and that immovable object. 

These are just some key tips to help you stay safe. If looking for a fully comprehensive training check out our DIY in-house training kits or feel free to peruse our online training options. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. 

Call 833-277-7022 or email to learn more.

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