Attorney David J. King


What are construction’s Fatal Four?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Workplace Injuries

The construction industry is notorious for its hazardous working conditions, and the “Fatal Four” represents the most common causes of fatal accidents on construction sites. These four hazards pose significant risks to workers, making it crucial for construction professionals and laborers to be aware of them in order to better prevent tragic incidents.

After all, the construction industry does experience the highest number of fatal workplace accidents every year. The Fatal Four cause the largest fraction of these accidents. As a result, safeguarding against these hazards needs to be a priority on every construction-related worksite.

Injuries from falls

Falls are a leading cause of construction-related fatalities. Workers can plummet from elevated surfaces like scaffolds, roofs, ladders and unprotected edges. Employers must ensure proper fall protection measures, including harnesses, fall arrest systems, ropes, nets and guardrails are in place. Training and awareness about fall hazards are also essential.

Struck-by incidents

When a worker is hit by a piece of equipment, a building material or some other object, it is known as a struck-by accident. This can include falling tools, materials or vehicles like cranes and forklifts. Employees should always wear hard hats and other personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of head injuries. Adequate training on equipment operation and safety zones is vital.

Injuries from electrocutions

Electrocutions happen when construction workers touch certain power sources, electrical lines or pieces of equipment. Electrical hazards can be mitigated through thorough inspections, lockout/tagout procedures and the use of insulated tools. Workers must be trained to recognize electrical dangers and respond appropriately.

Caught-in/between incidents

This category covers incidents where workers are caught or crushed between objects or equipment. Trench collapses, being caught in machinery or being compressed between materials fall into this category. Preventative measures include proper shoring and sloping in trenches, machine safety guards and training on machinery operation and safe work practices.

Unfortunately, even workers who have proper training can be injured on the job. Accidents can and do happen. Even those injuries that are not fatal can lead to extensive medical bills and career changes, like missing time at work. Injured workers must know about all of their legal rights and what steps to take when seeking workers’ comp benefits. Additionally, the loved ones of those lost to fatal job-related injuries can benefit from seeking legal guidance as they may be owed compensation as well.