The Fatal Four: Construction’s Biggest Heath Risks and Safety Hazards
If you work in the construction industry, then you know about the infamous “fatal four,” which refers to the industry’s most common causes of work-related fatal injuries. The fatal four includes: falls, struck by an object, caught in/between an object, and electrocution. As deadly and horrific as these safety hazards are, they’re, unfortunately, a common problem in the construction industry.
A 2019 study by OSHA revealed that more than 100 workers die every week, totaling 15 deaths a day. The even sadder part about that statistic is the fact that a lot of those fatalities were completely preventable had proper safety measures been taken.
The EHS Daily Advisor states that the fatalities and severe injuries happening on a daily basis are all due to construction violations, which are a direct result of not following safety protocols. OSHA handed out multiple citations in 2017. For example, in the area of fall protection, there were 6,072 violations; With electrical and wiring, there were over 1,400 violations.
If you look at that long list of violations, you’ll notice that just about every one of them requires special licensing to even be able to work in those sectors of construction. Obtaining the proper licensing in your sector will prevent so many injuries and fatalities simply due to the safety training required to pass the test.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the Fatal Four and discuss the importance of safety in construction.
In the world of construction, working at height is a typical day whether it be on scaffolding, roofs, or ladders. Falls also happen when a worker isn’t paying attention and mistakenly walks through a floor with a huge opening or walking on a weak roof. These injuries are all due to a lack of fall protection. Things like communication devices, hard hats, harnesses, and continued safety training could all prevent these incidents from happening. This death makes up nearly 37% of construction fatalities.
Anything involving electrical circuits and wiring will all need to be handled by a licensed professional with extensive training on electrical safety. Unfortunately, even workers who are extensively trained fall prey to this fatality, especially for workers who have been in the industry a long time and have gotten “laxed” on safety procedures using “short cuts” to reduce time. Everything from wet conditions to faulty equipment are major contributors to electrocution deaths.
3Struck By an Object
Being struck by an object is usually the result of malfunctioning equipment, faulty rigging, and loose swinging materials. This reason is why hard hats are so important. Can you imagine getting hit in the head by a swing hook used to hold heavy parts? One hit to the head, or any body part for that matter, can prove to be extremely dangerous and deadly. This death makes up a little over 10% of construction fatalities.
4Caught In/Between an Object
In construction, workers get caught in or between various devices, pieces of equipment, or tools. For example, a worker might get pinned in between a wall and a forthcoming piece of equipment that they can’t find a way out of. This is indeed a gruesome and morbid thought to think about but it’s a harsh reality of the industry, and that’s why safety is so important. This type of death is one that would be terrible for anyone, but it would pose to be traumatic for the workers that witnessed it as well. This death makes up a little over 2% of construction fatalities.
Construction is a very dangerous industry to work in, especially if you have little to no regard for safety. The Fatal Four is a large cause of fatalities, and the worst part about it is that these deaths that have happened over the years could have been prevented.
Before entering this industry, make sure it’s something you truly want to do and are fully aware of the risks involved. Taking the proper safety precautions is something that should be part of your everyday practices before starting a project.