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What are the OSHA “fatal four”?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Some workplaces are more dangerous than others: it is no secret that construction is a dangerous field. Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has partnered with companies in all construction verticals to promote safe and healthy workplaces.

The good news is that over the years, construction jobs have become much safer and fatalities have generally gone down. However, there are still thousands of injuries and fatalities that take place in American construction zones each day. According to the EHS Daily Advisor, the leading causes of workplace death for construction workers are falls, objects striking the worker, electrocutions and the worker getting caught between equipment or objects.

Falls and objects

By far, the most common fatal accident at the construction worksite is a fall. Over 35% of deaths in the construction workplace are due to this. There are many ways to fall at a construction site, including through unprotected sides or holes, poorly constructed walking and working surfaces, and workers falling off scaffolding.

Just over 10% of all construction workplace deaths are due to the worker getting struck by an object. These could include objects falling due to the failure of a rig, loose or shifting materials, and getting struck by a vehicle.

Electrocutions and caught-betweens

Almost 9% of construction employees died because of electrocution. Electric hazards may include exposed wiring or wet conditions with exposed outlets.

Employees may also get caught between machines, tools, and devices. Deaths related to “caught-betweens” make up about 2.5% of deaths at construction sites. Keep in mind that the “Fatal Four“does not just kill workers: many experience a serious injury, as well.