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by the NFCC

Crush injury

Hazard Knowledge

A crush injury is an injury resulting from the force or weight of an object against a person, restricting their movement and causing damage or restriction to the body.

Crush syndrome is the systemic manifestation of muscle cell damage resulting from pressure or crushing. The severity of the condition is related to the magnitude and duration of the compressing force, and the bulk of muscle affected. The definition is not, however, dependent on the duration of the force applied.

Crush injuries can result from incidents such as:

  • People being run over by a vehicle
  • A person laying immobile after a fall
  • A person being trapped under debris in a collapsed building
  • A person being trapped in mud or sand

The cause of the crush injury plus the resultant crush syndrome will lead to shock, both of which should be managed by an appropriate medical response.

A prolonged period of crushing and a casualty remaining in situ may result in the increased risk of environmental exposure. This may be due to the person not being able to regulate their temperature as they are unable to move, or because the flow of blood is restricted by the crush.