What are construction’s Fatal Four?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is staffed with the responsibility of keeping workers safe at their place of employment. Along with state partners, the agency takes great pride in protecting the well being of more than 130 million workers. Even so, no agency is able to prevent every workplace accident.

According to OSHA, nearly 5,000 people were killed on the job last year. This works out to approximately 13 deaths every day of the week.

When it comes to dangerous work environments, construction is at the top of the list. In 2014, 20 percent of worker deaths were in construction.

OSHA understands that many types of accidents can occur, with the “Fatal Four” needing the most attention. These accidents include:

— Falls

— Electrocutions

— Struck by object

— Caught in or caught between

For example, approximately 40 percent of total deaths in the construction industry in 2014 were from falls. This is followed by 8.5 percent caused by electrocutions, 8.4 percent struck by object, and 1.4 percent for caught in/between accidents.

It is good to know that OSHA understands the seriousness of these types of accidents. But here is the problem: It is difficult to reduce the number of accidents that occur within the construction industry, among others.

Federal and state agencies, along with employers and employees, should work together to promote the safest possible work environment. This is easier said than done, but any progress is better than none at all.

It only takes one mistake in the workplace to seriously injury or kill a worker. At that point, the company is then turned upside down for quite some time.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Commonly Used Statistics,” accessed Oct. 07, 2015

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