More than one out of every five workplace deaths in the United States is in the construction industry, and many of those fatalities could be prevented, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The agency’s most recent data shows 5,147 U.S. workers died on the job in 2017, an average of more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths per day. Nearly 60% of those fatalities resulted from four leading hazards.
What are the Fatal Four?
OSHA employs more than 2,000 inspectors who are responsible for monitoring workplace safety for 130 million workers across the U.S. at more than 8 million worksites. The agency has identified the four most common fatal workplace injuries:
- Falls accounted for 39.2% of all workplace deaths in 2017. These hazards include unprotected sides or holes, failure to install safety railings and other protections and improperly-built walking or working surfaces.
- Struck by object hazards were responsible for 8.2% of workplace fatalities. This includes falling objects due to shifting materials, unsecured items, equipment failures or being hit by vehicles or equipment.
- Electrocutions accounted for 7.1% of all construction worker deaths. These happen when workers make contact with live circuits in panels or overhead power lines, or by poorly maintained cords and tools.
- Caught-in/between objects or equipment deaths happened in 5.1% of all deaths. Workers are crushed or trapped between vehicles, collapsing structures, equipment or materials.
Holding employers accountable for workplace deaths and injuries
OSHA estimates that eliminating the Fatal Four hazards on every construction site across the U.S. would reduce workplace deaths by more than half. Preliminary data shows the agency issued more than 32,000 citations for the top 10 violations in 2018.
However, many more safety hazards exist as one OSHA compliance officer is responsible for 59,000 workers. If you or a loved one are the victims of a workplace injury, an experienced Georgia attorney can help you file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim.