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How to Avoid OSHA’s Fatal Four Construction Site Accidents

construction workers on scaffolding wearing brightly colored vests and hard hats

Construction sites are inherently dangerous workplaces. Approximately 1000 fatal construction accidents occur every year according to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). However, just because accidents are more likely to happen at such a workplace does not mean they should be tolerated. Most construction sites have safety measures in place to mitigate accidents, but there are always steps you can take to make construction work even safer. Our Albuquerque construction accident attorney explains the top four causes of fatal construction accidents and how to best avoid them.

What Are OSHA’s “Fatal Four” Hazards?

OSHA has identified the four main causes of deadly construction accidents, dubbed the Fatal Four. These accidents tend to primarily affect workers, but visitors to construction sites or even those passing by occasionally fall victim as well.

OSHA’s Fatal Four are as follows:

  • Caught-in/between: The first of the fatal four encompasses accidents that involve a construction worker being caught in or compressed between objects, equipment, or machinery. It also includes the hazards of being struck, caught, or crushed by collapsing structures, equipment, or materials. These account for 5.5% of facilities annually.
  • Electrocution: Being killed by coming into contact with overhead power lines, poorly maintained cords and tools, or a lightning strike can all factor into electrocution, which makes up 8.5% of annual deaths.
  • Falls: Fall hazards can include unsteady scaffolding, unprotected edges, defective ladders, and anything that can cause a fall from a surface high enough to cause injury. Causing 33.5% of construction accident fatalities per year, falls are the deadliest of the Fatal Four.
  • Object Strikes: Also known as “struck by object,” this includes falling objects caused by anything from rigging failure to loose materials. Being hit by a falling object makes up 11.1% of construction accident deaths annually.

How to Prevent Fatal Accidents at Work

There are many steps both you and your employers can take to prevent fatal accidents on construction sites. Even if adequate safety measures are in place, make sure to always exercise caution while working, as accidents can be caused by human error or mere chance as well. If you ever feel unsafe at work, talk to your manager or supervisor about your concerns.

Things you can do to prevent fatal accidents at work include:

  • Always properly secure loads with appropriate rigging
  • Always wear and use your personal fall arrest equipment
  • Always check overhead for power lines before operating any type of equipment
  • Cover and secure floor openings and clearly label covers
  • Ensure all tools and equipment are securely attached and/or tethered at all times
  • Install and maintain perimeter protection where needed
  • Make sure all vehicles are in proper working condition before you start your shift
  • Study safe distance and other safety requirements before doing a job
  • Use ladders and scaffolds only in the way that they were designed and when properly secured
  • Wear high visibility clothing and equipment

Things you should avoid doing include the following:

  • Avoid operating portable electric tools unless they are grounded or double-insulated
  • Don’t work near power lines, exposed wiring, and other electrical hazards
  • Never drive a vehicle in reverse if your view is obstructed
  • Never enter unprotected trenches or excavations without adequate protective systems in place
  • Never position yourself between objects that are moving and fixed

For more information about OSHA’s Fatal Four and how to protect yourself, visit the organization’s website.

Has your loved one been injured or killed due to an incident at a construction site? Our Albuquerque construction accident attorney can help you win the compensation you and your family deserve, whether you are filing a claim for temporary workers’ compensation benefits or wrongful death. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.