Construction Sites’ Fatal Four

Construction Sites’ Fatal Four

Jun 29

Besides being mandated and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ensuring employee safety and health in the workplace is also an obligation that common law imposes on all employers. These OSHA mandate and common law obligation are being highlighted due to the still high rate of workplace injuries and fatal accidents in working environments, especially construction sites.

Based on the 2013 record of the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, working environments accounted for 4,405 deaths; 796 of these deaths (this number is a preliminary count) were in construction sites, with the top four causes being: slips, trips, and falls; getting struck by a heavy or moving object; electrocution; and, being caught between objects – also known in the construction industry as the “Fatal Four.”

Falls, which account for about 40 % of all construction site injuries and deaths, are frequently due to poorly maintained or assembled scaffolding and work platforms, elevated surfaces or uneven floors, improper use of ladders, unnoticeable ramps and excavations, unprotected sides and edges, overhanging steel bars, lack of training on observance and strict implementation of safety measures, lack of protective gear and/or equipment, and so forth.

Being struck by a heavy or moving object is the next leading cause of injuries and deaths in construction sites. Getting hit by falling tools or construction vehicles are examples of this, while resulting injuries can include injuries to the head and/or neck, brain injury, back injury, etc.

The third most common cause of harm among construction site workers is electrocution. Damaged high voltage wires and lack of ground fault can cause severe injuries (or even death) to unsuspecting workers, many of whom have suffered serious burns, disfigurement or limb amputation.

Disfigurement or a limb getting amputated is also common when a worker gets caught or wedged between heavy or sharp objects, resulting to injuries that require days away from work. Some injuries are also severe enough to leave a worker disabled and unable to work again.

The many different dangers construction workers are made to face every day contribute to why failure to comply with safety and health standards that will result in a lack of employee protection against accident hazards or illness is a violation of the OSHA mandate to which an employer can be held totally liable.

And, if proven guilty, he or she can be ordered by the court to compensate the injured worker. According to personal Injury lawyer, Ali Mokaram, This compensation is completely different from the benefits an injured worker will receive from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit.