OSHA Fatal Four
Every year, hundreds of workers are injured in accidents related to construction equipment. OSHA has developed a list they call the "Fatal Four": the four most common causes of construction worker fatalities. Do you know what they are? That's the focus of this Shop Talk Blog post.
The Fatal Four for Construction Workers
According to OSHA, about 21% of work-related fatalities in the United States occur in the construction industry alone. Of those deadly accidents, more than half could be traced to four specific types of accidents. If you want to stay safe and keep your crew safe, then its vital to be aware of these hazards.
Fatal Four #1: Falls
The number one cause of construction-related fatalities was falls -- and fall prevention measures also tops the list of OSHA's most frequently violated standard. Almost 40% of the construction fatalities in 2015 were fall related, many of which would have been avoidable if proper fall prevention and fall safety measures had been implemented and taken seriously.
Fatal Four #2: Struck-by Objects
The next on the fatal four list at almost 10% of the fatalities involves being struck by an object. This includes objects falling as well as being struck by equipment or machines. According to the OSHA, 75% of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment. The most common objects involved, besides heavy equipment, are falling or flying objects and issues involving the construction of masonry walls.
Fatal Four #3: Electrocutions
Electrocutions come in third at almost 9% of the construction-related deaths. Most of the fatalities involving electrocution can be traced back to ...
- Contact with power lines
- Lack of ground fault protection
- Missing or discontinuous path to ground
- Improper use of equipment
- Improper use of extension and flexible cords
It's interesting that electrical issues are also included in OSHA's top 10 most frequently violated standards.
Fatal Four #4: Caught-in/Between
The last on the fatal four list involves, to quote OSHA ...
" ... construction workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material."
Collapsing trenches, issues when loading equipment, getting backed over or run over by machines ... this list could go on. These account for some of the most gruesome accidents that can occur on a construction site. These types of deaths are being taken very seriously, as evidenced by the recent ruling of manslaughter in the case of a construction company owner and a young man who was killed when a retaining wall collapsed.
According to an AFL-CIO report, 937 construction workers were killed in 2015, the highest number of any industry sector. According to that same report, the four most dangerous states to work in are North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Mississippi. These states had the highest fatality rates in 2015. Keep in mind the Fatal Four, and remember that OSHA safety standards are there to protect you and your employees from injury. Safety should never be just an afterthought -- your life and the lives of your employees are worth more than that.
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