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Constructions' "Fatal Four" cause majority of worker deaths

Today’s construction workers lead dangerous lives, with the very nature of the profession exposing them to numerous areas of potential risk. When construction site supervisors and others on the team fail to prioritize workplace safety, the risks associated with the job become even more pronounced. Sadly, this happens every day across America as busy construction teams race to complete one task before moving on to another.

The construction industry is dangerous enough without workers having to worry about safety lapses on their job sites, with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting that more than 20 percent of all American worker deaths occur in this particular industry. Nearly 60 percent of those construction worker deaths result from what is known as the industry’s “Fatal Four,” which are the four most common causes of construction worker fatalities in the United States. So, what, exactly, are construction’s Fatal Four?

1. Falls

Falls cause nearly 40 percent of all construction worker deaths, highlighting just how critical it is for construction managers to train employees properly and require the use of protective gear. Ladder falls are common on construction sites, while other falls result from scaffolding collapses or obstructions on the job site, among other causes.

2. Electrocution

Just over 7 percent of construction worker deaths result from electrocution. Exercising extreme care is necessary anytime you work near, or erect anything near, power lines.

3. Object strikes

About 8 percent of today’s construction worker deaths result from an object, such as a tool, striking a worker on some part of his or her body.

4. Getting caught in between or crushed by something

About 5 percent of all construction worker deaths result from something catching or compressing a worker. This could include anything from a worker finding him or herself crushed by equipment to a worker finding him or herself involved in a scaffold or building collapse.

Learning how to eliminate the construction industry’s Fatal Four would save an estimated 582 lives annually.

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