The construction industry plays a vital role in shaping the nation, from transforming landscapes to preserving infrastructure. However, construction work is inherently dangerous – and some of those dangers all too regularly prove fatal.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a significant number of fatalities and injuries in construction can be attributed to four primary causes, commonly known as the “Fatal Four.” They include:
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for a significant portion of all construction-related deaths. Workers are exposed to fall hazards in various scenarios, such as while working on scaffolding, roofs and ladders. However, even same-level falls can lead to serious injuries or death, especially if a worker strikes their head on equipment or construction materials when they land.
Struck-by accidents occur when a worker is hit by a moving object, such as heavy machinery that’s in motion or falling debris. These accidents often result from inadequate safety measures, poor communication between workers or a simple lack of visibility.
Caught-in or caught-between hazards
These hazards refer to accidents where a worker is caught and crushed between two objects, such as collapsing retaining walls in trench collapses or when the operation of a forklift goes awry and pins a worker between the equipment and a wall.
Electrocutions pose a significant threat, particularly to those workers involved in electrical installations, repairs or maintenance. Exposed wires, faulty equipment and the improper handling of electrical systems increase the likelihood of electrocution incidents.
The fatal four hazards in construction can’t be eliminated entirely, but their risks can be mitigated through a commitment to safety and ongoing hazard identification. If you work in construction, the use of personal protective equipment and an insistence on observing safety protocols in all situations is key to your health and well-being.
Additionally, when disaster strikes, injured workers have every right to expect benefits through workers’ compensation, as long as they are eligible for this coverage and their harm is work-related. If a worker is killed, their surviving dependents may also be due financial support through workers’ comp. Seeking appropriate legal guidance can help you learn more.