Construction’s “Fatal 4” and How You Can Avoid Them

Jmurphy/ June 15, 2018/ Company News

Written by SafetyTech’s Kala Nuru-Maasi

There were 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry in 2016. Out of those 991 or 21.1% were in construction. That means an astounding one in five worker deaths last year were in construction. The leading causes of these deaths in were falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (63.7%) the construction worker deaths in 2016, BLS reports. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save hundreds of workers’ lives in America every year.

■ Falls — 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction in CY 2016 (38.7%)
■ Struck by Object – 93 (9.4%)
■ Electrocutions – 82 (8.3%)
■ Caught-in/between* – 72 (7.3%)
*This category includes construction workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material)

How can we prevent these types of accidents:

– Remove slip, trip, and fall hazards from the work area.
– Establish a no-running policy.
– Report any spills and provide adequate signage regarding hazards such as spills, uneven surfaces, debris, icy sidewalks, smooth concrete and other hazards.
– Make sure that staff is trained on how to properly clean/remove slip, trip and fall hazards.

■ Struck by Object
– Avoid areas where work is being performed above
– Secure tools and materials using toe boards, screens and debris nets
– Do not exceed lifting capacity of cranes and hoists
– Wear a hard hat at all times on a construction site.

■ Electrocutions
– Use only equipment that is properly grounded or double-insulated
– Do not ignore warning signs. If an item feels hot, makes an unusual noise (buzz or hum), smokes or sparks, take it out of service immediately and tag it “Do Not Use”
– Do not cover power cords or extension cords with rugs or mats, as this can cause issues with the wires or create potential tripping hazards
– Cover or guard any exposed electrical components or wires, and make sure employees are aware of any hazards

■ Caught-in/between (*This category includes construction workers killed when caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material)
– Be familiar with the equipment to know where the pinch, sheer, wrap and crush points are located, as well as pull-in areas
– Shut down equipment before doing repairs or inspections
– Make sure all guards are in place and properly secured after servicing equipment
– Take extra caution when working around equipment that use belts, chains, sprockets or PTO shafts

Build a Safety Culture
The best way to prevent these types of accidents is to create and use proper job safety policies. JSACloud streamlines this process by providing a digital solution that makes it easy for your safety professionals to create JSAs, communicate with workers in the field, report and analyze safety data, and standardize safety policies.

Learn More about How the JSACloud App can help prevent construction’s “Fatal Four” at

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