Occupational safety should be a primary concern in any workplace, and understanding the potential hazards that exist is essential in fostering a safe and secure working environment. While there are some industries that are inherently more dangerous than others, the reality is that without effective safety measures in place, any industry can become dangerous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has acknowledged the hazards that exist in the construction industry and has identified a specific set of dangers known as the “fatal four.” The “fatal four” encompasses four types of accidents that are responsible for the wide majority of construction-related fatalities. Let’s dive into what each of these hazards are and learn some helpful tips about how to protect yourself in the workplace.
The first type of injury that OSHA has identified as a main cause of construction fatalities is falls. Anything on a construction worksite that could cause you to lose balance or support is considered to be a fall hazard. According to a study conducted by the CDC, falls are the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction and accounted for more than one-third of all construction fatalities in 2019.
Struck-by accidents are another type of incident that accounts for a great number of construction accident fatalities. A struck-by accident occurs when an individual is hit by objects, tools, or equipment. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for construction workers to be hit by moving vehicles, such as trucks or cranes, as well as any materials that may have become airborne in the construction process.
The next type of construction accident is known as a “caught-in” or “caught-between.” During this type of accident, construction workers will find themselves caught between or pinned down by heavy objects, machinery or fixed structures. When this occurs, it is very difficult for the construction workers to move, as the objects that have fallen on them are often very heavy and difficult or impossible to maneuver.
The last type of accident that is included in the “fatal four” is electrocution. Electrocution occurs when an individual experiences a heavy electric shock that can result in severe injuries and burns. Unfortunately, electrical hazards can be difficult to identify with the naked eye.
How To Protect Yourself
Now that you are aware of what the “fatal four” are, it is important to understand what actions to take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of these four deadly hazards. Here are some helpful tips:
- Ensure that your construction workers are properly trained to obey safety procedures.
- Wear protective gear, such as a hard hat and goggles
- Conduct a preliminary inspection of the construction site before working to identify any potential dangers
- Maintain a safe distance from machinery that is in operation
- Conduct maintenance inspections of the construction site
- Make sure that you have fall protection equipment in place if you are well above ground level
- Do not approach an unprotected or open trench
As you now know, there are several potential hazards present on construction sites, and it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others. By implementing preventative measures, participating in training, and fostering a culture of safety, you will reduce the risk of fatality and injury on a construction site. If you, however, are injured on a construction site, it is important that you reach out to a Los Angeles construction site accident lawyer to lead you through the complexities of the legal process. Protect yourself on construction sites and implement safety measures to ensure you do not fall prey to one of the “fatal four.”