How to Tackle the Fatal 4 OSHA Construction Hazards

When it comes to the safety of construction workers, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) takes precautions very seriously. They have pinpointed the “fatal four” situations that accounted for the death of approximately 64% of construction workers in 2016. Let’s take a more in-depth look at these Fatal 4 OSHA Hazards and what to do to prevent them


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Of the 631 American construction worker deaths a year, 38.7% of these tragedies occur via a fall. Falling is far and away the leading cause of death. Therefore, this hazard has received extra attention from OSHA.


The top causes of falls are:


  • Floor Openings
  • Roof Openings
  • Scaffold Climbing
  • Shaky Ladders
  • Unprotected Roof Edges


Before climbing any ladder, they should be checked for security. For any climbs higher than six feet, always wear fall arrest equipment.


Cover all floor openings at all times and make sure the covers and clearly labeled. Lastly, you need guardrails on-site for any multi-level project. Making sure of these few things can help save 384 lives a year.


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Hit by Object

An object striking a worker is the second most common construction-related death. This causes 9.4% of construction worker deaths each year. To avoid this type of fatality, workers must wear protective equipment at all times.


This includes:


  • Hard Hats
  • Reflective Vests
  • Safety Goggles


With the amount of swinging and flying objects at a construction site, hard hats and goggles go without saying . Areas that have cranes and other large vehicles benefit from workers wearing bright vests. It’s hard for operators to see from high up so anything that may draw their attention to a body can help save a life.


The third of the fatal four OSHA hazards is electrocution. Death by electrocution accounts for 8.3% of construction-related fatalities.


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Electrocution most commonly happens in areas that have:

  • Aerial Lift
  • Boom
  • Scaffold

That’s because these structures can come into contact with a power line. This will create a deadly circuit. That is why training on how to work with exposed electrical is a must for any construction worker.

Before any job, a worker should be able to:

  • Find Electrical Utilities
  • Note Location and Heights of Power Lines

When these are located, be sure to keep ladders, scaffolds, cranes, and other heavy equipment out of their vicinities.

Before a job starts, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) need to be installed. These contraptions will stop the flow of electrical current when the GFCIs sense a ground fault. This will protect a construction worker from getting an electrical shock.


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Stuck Between Objects

Last is certainly not any less deadly. 7.3% of construction-related deaths occur from being caught in between objects. These happen most in areas where cave-ins could occur.

Construction workers should never enter a trench that’s more than the five feet deep without proper protection.


To handle situations, workers should plan for:


  • Benching – Place a Gradual Incline with a Series of Steps
  • Shoring – Install a Support System That Supports Weak Objects
  • Sloping – Place a Gradual Incline to an Easier Route


One final note, make sure all machine safeguards are in place. Otherwise, the crew runs the risk of being crushed or suffering from an amputation.


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