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Construction’s Fatal Four and How To Avoid Them

Construction workers working on scaffoldingConstruction accidents are frequent enough that the industry — and the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) — have a term for the four most common accidents. It’s the “fatal four.”

Over 20% of all U.S. deaths stemming from workplace accidents occur in the construction industry. According to government statistics, roughly 93 workplace-related deaths happened in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available. So, in other words, construction accidents accounted for more than 19 deaths every week, on average.

What are the fatal four? Read on.

1. Falls

Falls are the most dangerous accidents on construction sites, by a wide margin. Falls make up almost 39% of all fatalities on construction sites.

Unfortunately, that isn’t too surprising when you think about it. Construction sites often have holes in floors not yet fully constructed, and workers can fall from story to story before walls and stairs are fully constructed.

In addition, of course, construction workers frequently work on scaffolding, which can be dangerous.

Although safety equipment such as harnesses and helmets should always be worn, sometimes companies do not require that these safety regulations be followed, or do not have the equipment for their workers. Lack of fall protection like this is the most commonly cited OSHA violation.

2. Struck by Object

Workers being struck by an object, which OSHA refers to as “strike-by” accidents, are the second of the fatal four. More than 9% of construction site fatalities are caused by strike-bys.

These type of accidents include being struck by objects falling from heights, such as beams and being hit by moving construction equipment, like trucks.

3. Electrocution

Electrocution holds the number three position in the fatal four. Over 8% of construction site fatalities are caused by electrocution.

Electrocution can happen because of hazards like exposed electrical wiring or worker equipment like ladders or cherry-pickers coming into contact with the electrical wiring overhead.

4. Caught-in/between

The last of the fatal four in construction is termed “caught between.” It refers to accidents in which workers are caught between objects or equipment, and, as a result, caught or crushed in an accident. Over 7% of deaths on construction sites annually are caused by caught-between accidents.

This can occur if structures or part of structures collapse or a worker is caught between materials or equipment, such as trucks and loaders.

When You Need a New York Construction Accident Lawyer

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are experienced construction accident attorneys, with decades of experience fighting for the rights of construction workers in Long Island and New York City.

Our initial consultation is free. We see you at no charge, and discuss your case and paths open to you. Call 1-800-469-7429 to talk with an experienced New York City and Long Island construction accident lawyer today.

Additional Resources:

  1. United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Commonly Used Statistics. https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html.
  2. United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA Quick Card. Top Four Construction Hazards. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3216-6N-06-english-06-27-2007.html.