What Are The “Fatal Four” Injuries in Construction Accidents?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Nancy J. Winkler with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
While every workplace carries its own risks, proper attention to and enforcement of safety protocol can mitigate any potential hazards. That said, some work environments have more hazards to guard against than others. For example, office workers likely face fewer physical risks in the workplace than those who work in fields requiring manual labor. Construction sites are particularly susceptible to failed safety oversight resulting in accidents and injuries that can be catastrophic and even fatal.
In any work environment, the employer is responsible for providing reasonably safe conditions. In a construction environment, this could include providing personal protective equipment and making sure that supervisors and workers are consistently informed of and following safety procedures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among the myriad of hazards present on construction sites, four hazards stand out above the rest. If you or a loved one were injured in a construction accident, talk to a workplace injury attorney about your options for physical and financial recovery.
The “Deadly Four” construction hazards consist of the following:
- Falls: Falls can occur in a myriad of ways on a construction site, including falling from a ladder, platform, roof, and even having heavy equipment or materials falling on a worker. OSHA requires construction workers to take precautions including using safety rails and even harnesses to prevent catastrophic falls. Still, falls are one of the most common construction site injuries and have the potential to be life-altering and even fatal.
- Struck-By: There are many moving parts involved in an active construction site. From working machinery to materials being moved to and fro, and even vehicles passing by when the construction takes place near or on a busy road or highway, there are many ways for a construction worker to be struck by heavy, dangerous objects. OSHA recommends construction workers wear bright, reflective clothing to increase their visibility and to never position themselves between moving or fixed objects.
- Caught-In/Between: One hazard might seem relatively unlikely to those who have never worked on a construction site before, but caught-in/between injuries are included in OSHA’s top four deadliest construction hazards. Construction sites often involve excavation, and when a worker enters an unprotected trench they could find themself stuck without a way out. OSHA advises workers to never enter an unprotected trench of five feet or deeper, and to avoid entering shallow unprotected trenches as well.
- Electrocutions: Live wires and electricity are a common hazard on construction sites. While existing wiring and new wiring are common on construction sites, power lines also present a significant danger to construction workers. OSHA recommends locating and identifying any electrical utilities in the facility before starting work, maintaining a safe distance from power lines, and using ground-fault circuit interrupters for protection.
While it’s certainly important for workers to exercise caution and follow OSHA recommended safety protocol, it is up to the employer to make sure their construction team not only has what they need to follow OSHA regulations but that those regulations are actually enforced by the supervisors in charge. For more information about construction accident injuries or to learn about options for recovery, reach out to a workplace injury attorney.