Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, with some of the highest rates of work-related fatalities across all industries. For over 40 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has collected data regarding workplace injuries and fatalities in order to track common hazards. In the construction industry, these hazards can present themselves on an average workday.
The number of construction-related fatalities is a growing concern. Concerning these fatalities, OSHA identified four construction accidents that prove deadlier than others.
The “Fatal Four”
Construction laborers, including contractors, roofers, electricians, maintenance workers and structural workers, face unique hazards in their occupation due to the nature of daily responsibilities. The following four workplace accidents cause the largest number of fatalities for construction workers no matter their specialization.
- Falls, including those off ladders and scaffolding, from heights and through floor openings
- “Struck-by” accidents, often caused by heavy equipment, tools or vehicles
- “Caught-between” accidents, which involve trenches, immovable objects, excavations or heavy equipment
- Electrocution, including injuries caused by both portable electric equipment and grounded lines
Proper safety precautions do much to prevent workplace construction accidents. However, these precautions may fail or be missing entirely, which severely compromises employee safety.
The negligence of contractors, site managers, production companies and other construction employers is often to blame for a number of construction accidents.
Federal agencies, including OSHA, mandate certain safeguards to better guarantee construction worker safety. When these safeguards are absent, liability may fall on the employer, and injured workers and their families may seek compensation for their loss and any damages incurred through the accident.