The “fatal four” is a term in the construction industry to describe the top four causes of workplace fatalities. These four hazards account for over half of all deaths on construction sites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if we could eliminate these dangers, we could save 437 workers lives each year in America.
To quote the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, “Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.”
This is why The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, otherwise known as “OSHA,” exists. Their sole responsibility is to monitor high-risk work sites, to set safety regulations, and to fine any company that is in violation of these standards.
The “fatal four” dangers in the construction industry are:
Falls – Falls account for nearly a third of all deaths in construction. In 2010 falls accounted for 264 of 774 construction-related fatalaties. Falls are especially common on construction sites, since many of the buildings being constructed are at least a few stories high, but most are commercial or industrial buildings where workers can be up hundreds of feet in the air.
OSHA supports close monitoring of all equipment, proper training for workers that at elevated heights, and fall protection harnesses to be worn by all workers working at over a one-story height.
Electrocution – Electrocution is the second most deadly danger lurking on many construction sites, since almost every building needs to be equipped with an electrical source. OSHA recommends that all persons handling live wires and electrical circuits wear the proper protection. Grounding is another major safety precaution that OSHA enforces, since many power tools need a safe source of electricity throughout the day. Electrocution is one of the most preventable dangers, since only professionals skilled in its use should be handling it.
Struck by Object – Construction sites have steel beams, iron rods, and large panes of glass, flying around at any given time, and they can often seem like huge, projectile weapons. Being struck by a falling object or a misguided object can easily lead to serious injury and death. Luckily, if the site is abiding by OSHA standards, they will be following a strict safety policy and will be much more careful and aware of their situation. A few OSHA tips include never positioning yourself between a fixed and moving object, staying alert of heavy equipment and checking vehicles before each shift.
Caught-in/between – Luckily, this fatal hazard has seen a reduction over the past ten years, decreasing about 20% since 2003. The biggest decrease in these fatalities came from the excavation or cave-in industry. OSHA recommends preventing caught-in/between hazards by following all safety instructions for machinery, wearing protection to prevent yourself from being pinned between equipment or other objects, avoiding working in unsafe excavation areas, and taking advantage of all of your training opportunities.
If you have suffered injury at constructions site contact Baker and Gilchrist immediately. Construction Accidents can lead to loss of work and high medical bills. It is important you have an experienced firm who can help you secure proper compensation in the result of an accident.