OSHA’s Fatal Four in Construction

Construction deals with many dangerous elements, such as heights, heavy materials, machinery, power tools and electricity.  This makes construction sites dangerous, with many workers suffering serious injuries and even dying from accidents.

That’s why safety is of the utmost importance in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) focuses on training employees to prevent the four most deadly types of construction accidents: fall hazards, electrical hazards, struck-by hazards and caught-in/between hazards. Dubbed the “Fatal Four,” these four accidents made up nearly 64 percent of construction deaths in 2016.

Fall Hazards

There are several types of falls in the construction industry. Falls to lower levels are some of the most common. Other falls include falls through floors or roofs, falls on the same level and jumping from equipment and structures.

In the construction industry, OSHA requires fall protection for those working at a height of six feet or above. Fall protection is required for those working at 10 feet for those on scaffolds. Lack of fall protection is the most common OSHA violation.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical fires are common when generators and other high-wattage equipment are used on job sites. Welding and new electrical systems inside a building can also lead to fires. Employees can also get shocked by electricity on the job site. This electricity can be created by damaged power tools, wet floors, improper grounding, exposed electrical parts, overhead power lines, poor wiring, overloaded circuits and damaged insulation. Electrocution can be fatal, so it’s important that managers take the appropriate steps to prevent electrical hazards.

Struck-By Hazards

Struck-by hazards occur when an object or piece of equipment comes into contact with a person. A construction worker can get struck by an object that is flying, falling, swinging or rolling. These accidents caused 9.4 percent of construction fatalities in 2016.

Twenty-eight percent of crane-related injuries and deaths are caused by struck-by accidents. Heavy equipment running over workers, equipment dropping loads onto workers, fasteners going through walls, shattered grinding wheels and circular saws can all cause eye injuries, head trauma, face lacerations, broken bones and even death. Proper eye, face and head protection can reduce the risk of injuries and death caused by struck-by hazards.

Caught In/Between Hazards

Examples of caught in/between hazards include cave-ins, being pulled into machinery, and being caught, pressed or crushed between objects. You can be pinned between a wall and a piece of equipment or two objects, with at least one that is stationary.  These accounted for 7.3 percent of construction fatalities in 2016.

Machinery should be properly guarded and de-energized. Workers should stay away from moving equipment and avoid situations where they can be pinned by machinery. They should also exercise extra caution when working in trenches.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Austin, Texas

Workplace accidents can cause serious injuries and even fatalities, especially in dangerous industries such as construction. If you have suffered significant damages, it’s important that you seek the compensation you deserve.

The Austin personal injury attorneys at Christensen Law Firm, PLLC can assess your construction accident injuries and help you understand your legal options. Call our office today at (512) 220-1800 to schedule your free consultation.