The Fatal Four: Preventing Worker Fatalities Part 1
In 2014, more than half of construction workers were killed as a result of a fall, an electrocution, being struck by an object, or being caught-in or between objects. The aforementioned causes are known as the “fatal four” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Our four-part article series will identify the top four causes of worker fatalities and discuss prevention methods to reduce the incidence of death. Visit Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 to learn more.
Prevention is Vital
Before we introduce our list, it’s important we briefly visit the subject of prevention because as OSHA defense lawyers, we understand the role it plays in workplace safety. According to OSHA, if the construction industry focuses its efforts on mitigating these hazards, the lives of over 500 workers will be saved every year. You can build a culture of safety in your workplace by identifying potential risks and creating plans to address the risks. First, get familiar with OSHA’s health and safety regulations. Next, pay attention to the regulations that affect your workplace the most and be proactive in discussing theses hazards with workers. Not only should you discuss these hazards and regulations, you should post them in a conspicuous area of the jobsite for all to see.
According to OSHA, of the four leading causes of construction fatalities, falls account for the most deaths. Back in 2014, almost 40% of the deaths that occurred were a result of falls. Falls occur when workers are performing leading edges work, overhand bricklaying that is six feet or higher, or during low-slope or steep roofing work. Most falls are due to:
- Unprotected sides, wall openings, and floor holes
- Improper scaffold construction
- Unguarded protruding steel rebars
- Misusing portable ladders
It is in the best interested of construction companies to ensure they protect workers from fall hazards by understanding and complying with fall safety standards. This can be done by implementing safety programs, assessing work surfaces for safety, and providing fall protection equipment such as personal fall arrest systems when necessary. A detailed list of ways to avoid the above hazards is provided on OSHA’s website.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.