Most workers in construction are familiar with the “fatal four” construction injuries: falls, an object striking a worker, electrocution and being “caught” between objects. Construction in and of itself is a very dangerous occupation: the US Bureau of Labor reports that nearly 1 in 5 deaths on the job was in construction, as of 2019.
Fortunately, there are things that both individuals and companies alike can do to lower this number. According to For Construction Pros, OSHA has specific advice on how to prevent deaths from “the fatal four.”
Falls and objects striking workers
Preventing falls involves ensuring that work areas are clear of clutter, well-lit and clean. When you dismount from any equipment, make sure that you keep “three points of contact” at all points. You should also use appropriate fall equipment when necessary and wear shoes with good traction.
For preventing objects from striking you, avoid driving in reverse as much as possible, and do not place yourself between fixed and moving objects. Make sure to avoid proximity to lifted loads, and stack materials properly so they do not slide and hit workers.
Electrocution and “caught betweens”
For electrocution, workers should keep a safe distance from energized parts and use all required PPE. Use property lockout procedures for energized equipment. For “caught betweens,” make sure not to wear long sleeves or jewelry, and do not put your body parts near moving objects.
Workers must practice constant vigilance to prevent death due to the “fatal four.” With proper training and employee-employer cooperating and compliance, the construction industry can lower death counts.