No one denies that construction workers face multiple on-the-job hazards every day. You know from experience that between the specific locations where you must work, such as on ladders, scaffolding, etc., and the equipment around which you must work, such as heavy machinery, electrical tools, etc., you face serious risk of injury every workday. But do you realize that four types of injuries account for 63.7% of all construction deaths nationwide each year?
Construct Connect reports that per the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, these four following types of accidents take the lives of over 600 construction workers annually. Consequently, OSHA has named them the industry’s Fatal Four as follows:
- Falls represent 38.7% of the annual construction deaths.
- Struck by object accidents represent 9.4%.
- Electrocutions represent 8.3%.
- Caught-in or caught-between equipment, structures or objects represent 7.3%.
To minimize your risk of falling, always wear personal fall arrest protection, a/k/a a special harness, any time you work more than six feet above a floor or the ground. In addition, your employer should cover and label all floor openings and provide guardrails around all edges of multi-story buildings.
Struck by objects
Your best protection against getting hit by a falling, flying, rolling or swinging object while working consists of always wearing a hard hat. Wearing a reflective vest will also help protect you because it makes you easier for equipment operators to see. Finally, wearing goggles will protect your eyes in the event something does hit you.
Surprisingly, electricians do not form the construction subgroup most at risk for electrocutions. Laborers do. Whatever your chosen trade, always know where all the electrical utilities are on your worksites and always use a ground-fault circuit interrupter on all your tools and equipment.
Caught in or between
These accidents occur most often when you work on an excavation site or in and around trenches where the ground can slip and trap or bury you. However, a fair number of these accidents happen because of unprotected tools and equipment, such as miter saws, conveyor systems, etc. Always know exactly where your hands are so you do not suffer an amputation or a crush injury.