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Understanding the fatal four construction accidents

The construction industry is one of the deadliest in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,102 construction site deaths in 2019 alone. This makes up 20.7% of all workplace deaths across the country.

Those that survive a construction workplace accident may suffer long-term injuries, missed days from work and significant life changes. Since these deaths are preventable, it is important that employers and workers understand workplace dangers and know how to prevent them from occurring.

What are the fatal four?

The Occupational Safety Hazards Association has coined the term "fatal four" to describe the industries' top construction site hazards. These include falling from heights or into uncovered holes, being caught in between two objects or in machinery, being struck by a falling object or getting electrocuted. These major hazards should receive proper attention and training to minimize the risk of construction deaths and injuries.

How to stay safe

Training is a critical component when teaching employees how to stay safe at the construction site. Some of these safety measures include the following:

  • Always wear protective head equipment
  • Use stabilization equipment when working on scaffolding or on high beams
  • Cover, secure and label floor openings
  • Avoid positioning between two machines or heavy objects
  • Make sure trenches are properly secured before entering
  • Identify utilities before working and maintain a safe distance from power lines

Untrained workers may not know what safety equipment to use or what precautions to take before working on a dangerous site. Employers may not have the proper safety devices in place to keep their workers safe.


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