While many employers take strides to make sure their construction sites are as safe as possible for their workers, others are less thorough, and in some cases, their negligence leads to serious, life-changing injuries and even death. Nowadays, the majority of construction worker injuries and deaths involve the “Fatal Four,” which are the four most frequent causes of construction worker deaths.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, finding ways to improve safety with regard to construction's Fatal Four could save an estimated 582 construction worker lives every year. As you might imagine, many of the reasons construction companies find themselves in violation of OSHA standards also relate to the Fatal Four, with many receiving citations for lacking adequate fall protection or equipment or having unsafe scaffolding onsite, among other reasons. So, what, exactly, are the construction industry’s Fatal Four, and is your employer doing enough to keep you safe?
The Fatal Four
The most substantial job-related risk you face when you work as a construction worker is that of falling. Many construction workers regularly work from heights, and many also often rely on ladders, scaffolds and other potentially hazardous equipment. Such equipment can prove particularly dangerous if not erected properly. A lack of adequate fall protection, meanwhile, further enhances your risk.
As a construction worker, you also have to worry about objects hitting or striking you, which might include lumber, tools and other hazards. You also run the risk of finding yourself caught in between structures or equipment, which may happen in a trench or scaffold collapse, for example. Finally, electrocution also makes construction’s Fatal Four list, accounting for 7.3 percent of industry fatalities.
You have a right to a safe workplace, and your employer has a duty to mitigate risks on your job site to the fullest extent possible. If you have concerns about safety at your place of employment, do not hesitate to voice them.