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Recognizing construction’s ‘fatal four’ injuries

The construction industry is an integral part of the American workforce. However, this dangerous job leads to a significant number of injuries and deaths every year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are 252,000 construction work sites across the U.S. on any given day, employing 6.5 million workers. In 2017 alone, 971 construction workers were killed. That equates to one in five workers who were killed in the U.S. were employed in the construction industry. The leading causes of these construction deaths are referred to as constructions ‘fatal four’, as they are the most dangerous in the industry.

Falls are the number one cause of death at the construction site. More than 39 percent of fatal accidents at the work site occur from falls. Employers are obligated to set up strong worksite platforms, scaffolding and work stations that are sturdy and can provide a safe workplace for employees.  The second most frequent cause of death in the construction industry occurs when people are hit by a falling object. Although workers are required to wear certain protective equipment, falling objects may be heavy and can cause serious damage.

Electrocutions are the third cause of death in the construction industry. Many worksites involve the use of power tools and electric wiring. Defective equipment, bad wiring and poor lighting can lead to electrocution and injuries. Finally, just over 5 percent of construction fatalities were caused when people were stuck in between two objects or compressed or crushed by equipment or a collapsing structure.

When employers take action to ensure work sites are safe, it can save the lives of many people.

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