As a construction worker, you face countless on-the-job hazards that threaten your physical well-being. Some of these hazards present more of a threat than others. The vast majority of today’s construction worker fatalities result from the same four elements, known as the industry’s “Fatal Four.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction industry deaths comprise more than a fifth of all work-related fatalities occurring on U.S. soil. Construction’s Fatal Four caused almost 60% of those construction worker fatalities, suggesting that industry employers must do more to eliminate associated risks.
The Fatal Four
What are the four most common causes of construction worker deaths in America? Falls claim the top spot and were by far the most common cause of death, causing 33.5% of construction worker fatalities in 2018.
The second most common cause of construction workers is when objects strike construction workers, leading to injuries. Such circumstances may arise when heavy tools fall to the ground from scaffolding, or when a swinging or flying object strikes a worker on a construction site. These circumstances contributed to about 11% of 2018’s construction worker deaths.
Taking the third spot were electrocutions, which were responsible for 8.5% of 2018’s construction industry deaths. The industry’s fourth-leading cause of death involved construction workers who found themselves stuck between equipment, objects or collapsing structures.
Possible liable parties
When construction workers die on the job, there may be several negligent parties that contributed to the death. Depending on circumstances, these parties might include the employer, the contractor or subcontractor, the engineer or the equipment manufacturer, among others.