The “Fatal Four” Hazards in the Construction Industry Safety Talk
There is inherent risk construction workers face every day at work. Construction is a dangerous field full of hazards. Despite the wide ranging hazards construction workers face, there are four types of hazards that are responsible for the majority of fatalities in the construction industry. These four types of hazards are falls, struck-by, caught-in between, and electrocution.
In 2014, falls accounted for about 40% of all fatalities in the construction industry. OSHA requires employees to be tied off during work at six foot of height or greater if fall prevention measures are not present, but there are many companies that do not protect their workers from falls. The majority of employees who died due to a fall did not have any fall protection on or the fall protection was inadequate.
Electrocutions followed falls in cause of fatalities with 8.2% of all fatalities in the construction industry in 2014. There are multiple causes of electrocution fatalities. The common types of electrocution fatalities include direct contact with an energized powerline, direct contact with energized equipment, contact between a boom and energized powerline, damaged equipment, and indirect contact with an energized powerline.
Struck-by incidents were responsible for 8.1% of all fatalities in the construction industry in 2014. There are many struck-by hazards on every construction site that can severely injure or kill workers on any given day. Common struck-by incidents include struck-by moving equipment, struck-by falling objects, and struck-by flying debris.
The last of the fatal four hazards in the construction industry is caught-in/between incidents. These incidents caused 4.3% of all fatalities in the construction industry in 2014. OSHA defines caught-in/between hazards as: Injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object. Two examples of caught-in/between incidents include excavation cave-ins and being pulled into moving equipment such as a conveyor.
This was just a quick overview and examples of the fatal four hazards in the construction industry. It is important that construction workers understand that these types of hazards are responsible for the majority of injuries and fatalities in their field of work. In your work today evaluate your work tasks and work area for these hazards.
- Which of the fatal four hazards should we most be concerned with here at our worksite?
- What are some safety measures we can take to eliminate or reduce the chance of injury related to the hazard?