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How Are Construction Workers Most Likely to Get Hurt?

March 19, 2019

In 2017, 5,147 Americans were killed on the job — an average of 14 deaths each day. Construction workers account for more than 20% of these fatalities. OSHA estimates that eliminating the Fatal Four jobsite hazards could save the lives of 508 workers each year and prevent countless construction-related injuries.

The ‘Fatal Four’

According to OSHA (the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the most common causes of construction work injury, known as the “Fatal Four,” account for nearly 60% of construction worker injuries. The “Fatal Four” are:

  • Falls
  • Struck by an object
  • Electrocution
  • Caught in or between equipment or objects

Falls:  Falls are the most common type of injury sustained by construction workers. As of 2017, fatal falls accounted for 39.2% of all construction workplace deaths. Despite the prevalence of fall-related injuries, many construction sites remain improperly equipped for worker safety.

Struck by Object: In 2017, nearly 8% of construction site fatalities resulted when a worker was struck by an object on the job, makingstruck-by-object cases the second leading cause of worksite deaths. These incidents include injury by falling objects (e.g., suspended loads); flying objects (tools, debris); swinging loads; and rolling (vehicles or heavy machinery).

Electrocution: Electrical hazards cause more than 4,000 worker injuries and 300 deaths per year. Of the “Fatal Four,” electrical injuries are the most easily prevented when appropriate safety measures are taken by both employers and employees.

Caught In or Between Equipment or Objects: The fourth leading cause of worksite injury involves accidents in which a worker is caught, squeezed, or crushed between two or more objects, and may involve collapsing materials, equipment rollovers, or body parts being pulled into machinery.

What Can Construction Workers Do to Stay Safe in the Workplace?

  • Use provided protection methods and gear as instructed at all times
  • Wear a hard hat at all times
  • Attend safety trainings
  • Familiarize yourself with on-site vehicles and machinery
  • Double-check your equipment at the start and end of each workday
  • Stay clear of suspended loads, and make sure that machine operators can see you
  • Avoid loose clothing and jewelry and make sure to secure hair when on the job
  • Stay focused on your task
  • Know your rights

What Can Employers Do to Keep Workers Safe?

  • Provide proper fall protections, including guardrails and toe-boards around every elevated open-sided work area and/or dangerous machines
  • Provide appropriate personal safety gear
  • Ensure that safety gear is in good condition
  • Keep inspections up-to-date
  • Educate workers about job hazards and personal safety in a language they understand

The Construction and Workplace Accident lawyers at Feldman Shepherd represent employees injured in construction accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of all culpable parties at a job site

A sampling of recent results achieved includes:


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