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What is the “OSHA Fatal Four?”

two construction workers discussing

Understanding the Dangers of Construction Sites

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that since its inception in 1970, workplace fatalities have been dramatically reduced from 14,000 in 1970 to approximately 4,340 in 2009. While the passage of the OSHA Act has shown a significant decline in the workplace, 21% of all workplace fatalities were on construction sites in 2018. After many years of gathering construction site fatality data, OSHA has comprised a list of the leading causes of fatal accidents on construction sites known as the “Fatal Four.” Here’s what you need to know.

The “Fatal Four” Statistics

“Fatal Four” hazards on construction sites are not an uncommon occurrence. OSHA states that eliminating the following “Fatal Four” would save 591 workers’ lives in the U.S. Here are the latest statistics (2018) as reported by OSHA:

  • Falls - Workers who fell from heights accounted for 33.5% (338 deaths) of all construction site fatalities and is the number one construction site hazard.
  • Struck by an object - Rolling, falling, swinging, or flying objects that struck workers accounted for 11.1% (112 deaths) of all construction site fatalities and is the second leading construction site hazard.
  • Electrocutions - One of the most cited violations on construction sites is the failure to meet electrical safety standards. From exposed live wires to ungrounded electrical tools, electrocutions accounted for 8.5% (86 deaths) of all construction site fatalities.
  • Caught-in/between - These types of accidents can occur when workers are trapped in a trench or excavation cave-in. Being pinned between machinery and other fixed objects is also a common construction site hazard. Caught-in/between accidents accounted for 5.5% (55 deaths) of all construction site fatalities.

How Construction Workers Can Avoid a Fatal Accident

While your employer must keep your worksite hazard-free, the chances of being involved in a construction site accident are high. When working on a construction site, it’s critical to keep the following safety precautions in mind:

  • When working from heights, always be prepared by wearing fall protection gear, such as harnesses.
  • Check for floor openings. Report any floor openings that are not covered or do not have warning signs alerting workers of the opening. Steer clear from working in this area until the hazard has been rectified.
  • Do not position yourself in-between or work close to moving objects that could strike you.
  • Refrain from entering trench and excavation areas that do not have protective systems and safety equipment in place.
  • Prevent electrocution by knowing the location of utilities and all powerlines on site. Also, ensure ground-fault interrupters are in place.

Data Source: OSHA Commonly Used Statistics

Contact a San Francisco Construction Accident Lawyer

Construction accidents are not uncommon and, unfortunately, in many cases, the injuries sustained can be catastrophic. When injuries are severe, and you face long-term complications, it can also mean long-term medical bills for treatments and care. If you or a loved one were injured in a construction accident, our San Francisco personal injury lawyers are here for you.

Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, is experienced with handling insurance companies who often look for the smallest loophole to deny compensation, but we know all the underhanded tactics they use. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. When going up against large corporations and their insurers' interests, we’ve got you covered and will defend your rights.

Contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn today at (415) 940-7176 to schedule a free consultation.