The construction industry is one of the most deadly in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 5,333 American workers died while on the job in 2019 alone. Of those, 1,061 worker deaths, or one in five, were in the construction industry.
There are four main types of accidents that occur on construction sites, which have been named, ‘the fatal four.’ These include falling, having falling objects fall on them, being crushed between two objects and getting electrocuted.
Falls and Falling objects
The most common type of construction accident fatality involves falling. This includes falling from scaffolding, heights, ladders or into unmarked trenches or ravines. Furthermore, falling objects can hit workers’ heads, causing brain injuries and death as well. To prevent these types of accidents, flooring and trenches should be clearly marked. Construction workers should always wear head protection while on the site.
Electrocutions and caught between objects
Contact with power lines energized sources and improper use of cords can cause electrocutions. In some cases, cords and power sources are not properly marked. It is critical that workers find and mark all energy sources before excavating a construction site. Finally, construction workers have died after being pinned between two objects. Construction workers should avoid standing between two moving objects or standing between a moving object and a stationary object. Workers should be completely aware of their environment at all times.
It is the employers’ responsibility to ensure that all construction site workers are properly trained on how to stay safe on the construction site.