The construction industry is an undeniably dangerous one. If you are among the many people across Florida who make your living working in this environment, you may have firsthand knowledge of its risks. While today’s construction workers suffer a broad range of work-related injuries and illnesses, the most serious incidents often fall into the same four categories. For this reason, these four primary causes of death in the construction industry are known as the “Fatal Four.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 20 percent of all American worker deaths in 2017 involved construction workers. In other words, one out of every five work-related deaths in America comes from the construction industry, with many resulting from circumstances surrounding the Fatal Four. So, what, exactly, are construction’s Fatal Four, and is there any way to minimize your on-the-job risks?
The Fatal Four
One of the most substantial risks on construction sites is the risk of falling. Construction workers often fall because they are working from heights without being properly secured, or because scaffolds collapse underneath them. Altogether, falls caused almost 40 percent of construction worker fatalities in 2017. Construction workers who fail to wear protective headgear or otherwise follow safety protocols substantially increase their risk of a fall-related injury.
Another 8.2 percent of construction worker fatalities result from items, tools or equipment striking workers somewhere on their bodies, while another 7.3 percent of industry deaths result from electrocutions. You can mitigate your risk of electrocution on the construction site to some extent by exercising care when raising scaffolds and working around power lines to make sure you avoid contact with them. About 5.1 percent of construction worker deaths, meanwhile, happen when workers find themselves pinned by vehicles, machinery or otherwise caught in between objects.
Eliminating construction’s Fatal Four could potentially save more than 580 construction worker lives every year. Supervisors and company owners have a duty to make their construction sites as safe as possible for those who work there.