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The Fatal Four: Construction’s deadliest accident types

| Jul 21, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Those working in construction face dangerous situations on nearly every shift. No matter the size of the project, workers might face toxic exposure, power tool malfunctions, trench collapses or vehicle collisions. Even after taking steps to ensure the safety of the worksite, construction workers could fall victim to what OSHA terms the “Fatal Four.”

The Fatal Four refers to the top four causes of construction fatalities. While every construction site is unique, there are common causes of deadly accidents. OSHA has identified four categories that most commonly lead to construction fatalities. They are the following:

  • Falls: Whether this is falling from a ladder, falling from a scaffolding or falling from a multi-story building, a fall from a significant height can result in worker fatality.
  • Struck-by: This category of accidents generally includes vehicle or equipment collisions. Workers struck, run over or crushed when positioned between fixed objects and moving vehicles often suffer fatal injuries.
  • Caught-in/between: Cave-ins, trench collapse and excavation collapse typically populate this category. An improperly supported trench or excavation can fail, completely burying the worker in a matter of seconds.
  • Electrocutions: Even a smaller project such as a home renovation can include electrical work. Workers must watch for overhead power lines, only use grounded power tools and be alert for any electrical hazards during the project.

From erecting a multi-story building to renovating a home, construction projects will always carry a level of danger. Supervisors must carefully monitor the safety of the construction site. Supervisors should also provide training and the personal protective gear needed to keep workers safe.