It is no secret that working in the construction industry is dangerous. In fact, working in construction is one of the deadliest occupations in the United States.
There are some injuries that occur more often than others in the construction industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), the top four most dangerous construction hazards, or the “fatal four”, are falls, electrical exposure, “struck by” and “caught in” situations.
Falls and electrocutions
The most dangerous accident at construction sites, according to OHSA, is falling. A worker involving him or herself in any activity more than six feet off the ground must have some level of fall protection. Scaffolds should start at 10 feet.
Electrocutions are the second deadliest accident at American construction sites. It is vital for companies to identify utilities before beginning any kind of construction work at a site. Workers should also ensure they are far away from power lines.
“Struck by” and “caught in” situations
Anything at a worksite with the potential to cause injury by striking a worker is a potential “struck by” situation, OHSA warns. They include injuries related to falling, flying, swinging and rolling objects. Wearing proper PPE is essential to prevent these injuries. Ensuring that all workers operating machinery are of the highest competence is also a must, particularly for signal persons and riggers.
“Caught in” situations often involve cave-ins of some sort, pinning workers between structures or machinery. Shield systems and protected trench reinforcement help prevent “caught in” situations. Workers should also be aware of how to position themselves safely around moving objects.