There are many different ways caught-in and caught-between accidents can occur, but the most common involve:

• Trenching

• Unguarded machinery

• Equipment.


One of the biggest hazards is being caught in a trench cave-in, which could crush or asphyxiate you. To avoid cave-ins, follow these safety precautions.

  • Use a protective system, such as sloping or shoring, to prevent the trench walls from caving in.
  • Make sure the trench is inspected appropriately and by a competent person.
  • Keep spoils at least two feet from the edge of the trench or haul them to another location.
  • Use a retaining device like a trench box that extends higher than the wall of the trench.
  • For more than four feet deep trenches, ensure a safe exit within 25 feet of workers in the trench.

Unguarded Machinery:

Ensure the appropriate guarding is in place for power tools, conveyors, and any other machinery with moving parts.
The guards for power tools must protect the operator and other workers from:

  • In-running nip points
  • Rotating parts
  • Flying chips and sparks.

When working with conveyors, never:

  • Clean or maintain a conveyor while it is operating
  • Reach into a nip point to remove debris or to free jammed material
  • Wear loose clothing that gets caught in the conveyor.

When working around unguarded machinery, keep these things in mind.

  • Loose clothing and jewelry can get caught in moving parts, pulling you into the machine.
  • Long hair worn loose can get caught in unguarded moving parts.


Powered industrial trucks (forklifts), cranes, and other heavy equipment can pose caught-between hazards at the workplace.
Here are some examples.

  • Heavy equipment can overturn, and if the operator isn’t wearing a seatbelt or the vehicle isn’t equipped with ROPS, he or she can be caught between the truck and the ground.
  • Operators can run the equipment into pedestrians, pinning them between the vehicle and the wall or stacked materials.
  • If loads are not properly loaded or secured to equipment, the loads can fall off the truck onto workers, pinning them between the fallen load and the ground or other materials.
  • Workers unsafely riding on equipment can fall off and get run over.

To prevent these types of accidents:

  • Wear a seatbelt when operating equipment if it is equipped with one.
  • Operate equipment that has ROPS, as appropriate.
  • Do not ride equipment that is not safely equipped for passengers.
  • Make sure all loads are properly secured and within the rated capacity of the heavy equipment.
  • When operating equipment, be aware of pedestrians in the area.

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