The ‘fatal four’ in construction are critical hazards that every worker in the industry must be aware of. These include falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and being caught in/between incidents. Understanding these risks isn’t about assigning blame but about fostering a culture of safety and vigilance on construction sites.
For construction workers, knowing the ‘fatal four’ is a step towards a safer work environment. These hazards are the most common causes of fatalities in the industry and mitigating them is essential for every worker’s safety.
Falls are the top cause of construction-related deaths. This risk is prevalent when working on ladders, scaffolding, roofs or any elevated work areas. Key preventive measures include using fall protection systems like harnesses and guardrails. Regular training in fall prevention and the correct use of safety equipment is vital. Ensuring work surfaces are safe and implementing strict safety protocols can significantly reduce fall hazards.
Struck by objects
Being struck by objects is a significant hazard. This includes being hit by falling tools, flying debris or swinging construction materials. Wearing hard hats and other protective gear is crucial to minimize this risk. Ensuring secure fastening of materials and tools, especially when working above ground level, can help prevent these accidents. Workers should always be aware of their surroundings, particularly in areas with overhead activities.
Electrocution, often due to contact with power lines or improper use of electrical equipment, is a prevalent danger in construction. Maintaining a safe distance from power lines and ensuring all electrical tools and equipment are properly grounded is crucial. Regular inspection of equipment for wear and tear and training workers on safely handling electrical devices are essential practices.
Caught-in/between incidents involve being caught, crushed or compressed between objects. These accidents can occur in trench collapses, equipment rollovers or near moving machinery. Following proper procedures when working in trenches, ensuring machinery has safety guards, and maintaining a safe distance from operating equipment are necessary to avoid these incidents.
Construction workers who survive one of these incidents should receive immediate medical care. Workers’ compensation should cover related costs, but some workers may have to fight for their due benefits. If so, seeking legal guidance is generally wise.