There are four categories of accidents that cause more than half of the fatalities in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has dubbed these the Fatal Four and works to help employers improve the safety protocol surrounding them. This can help to reduce the number of worker deaths stemming from these causes.
Understanding the Fatal Four is the first step in keeping people safe. Employers can’t think that they should train new employees and then forget about it. Instead, having continuing education opportunities and reminding workers about the safety guidelines can benefit everyone.
What are the Fatal Four?
The top four causes of construction worker deaths include:
- Falls: 36.5% of industry fatalities
- Struck by an object: 10.1% of industry fatalities
- Electrocutions: 8.6% of industry fatalities
- Caught-in or between: 2.5% of industry fatalities
These are also primary causes for injuries. By reducing the risks, employers can also minimize the amount of downtime workers have due to accidents on the job. This benefits the company because it will have the full work crew available to complete jobs, and it helps workers since they will be able to earn the money they need to survive.
How can companies minimize the risks of the Fatal Four?
Establishing proper safety protocol is the top method, but it won’t do any good unless the employees have the equipment and tools they need to get things done safely. This includes having fall arrest equipment for anyone working from heights. Securement of tools at these heights is also important. All workers must also be taught how to climb ladders safely, including always abiding by the three points of contact rule.
All equipment should be thoroughly inspected before it’s used. This can help to spot things like worn components or defects that make the items unsafe to use. Anything that’s not in good condition must be put out of service until it can be repaired or replaced.
What should workers do if they’re injured?
Workers who are injured in incidents on the job should notify their employer. They need to seek medical care for the injuries they suffered. That care should be covered by workers’ compensation, but there is also a chance that the person may be able to file a third-party lawsuit if another party was liable for the incident. Determining how to handle these cases might be a challenge, so work with someone who’s knowledgeable about these matters.