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News Stories

Understanding the Fatal Four for Construction Workers

It is a known fact among construction workers in California that their work is very dangerous. However, that does not excuse construction companies from responsibility when accidents happen on jobsites.

Employers should make sure that their workers have safe environments in which to perform their jobs. Sadly, this does not always happen. Many accidents do occur, injuring or even killing innocent and hard-working construction employees. Many of these accidents are caused by four primary factors, called the fatal four.

What are the fatal four?

Of all job-related deaths in 2014, roughly 20 percent were recorded in the construction industry according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA explains that of all construction worker deaths, almost 40 percent were attributed to some sort of fall.

Other top causes of deaths on construction jobsites were situations in which workers were struck by objects, electrocuted or trapped in some form. Together, the top four factors in construction worker fatalities accounted for over 60 percent of all deaths in the industry.

What are some recent accidents in which the fatal four played roles?

An accident last autumn on the 91 freeway in Corona saw 10 construction workers injured when part of a freeway onramp collapsed. The Los Angeles Times explains that the collapsed ramp did not directly hit the workers but rather the ramp pushed some beams which then in turn hit the men.

Also last fall, the site of a new FedEx facility in northern San Diego County was where one construction worker died. CBS 8 reported how the man was trapped beneath a piece of retaining wall that fell. Efforts were made to rescue the worker but he died before that could happen.

Just this summer, a metal beam struck and injured two men working at an airport in northern California. The Sacramento Bee indicates that the California division of OSHA has launched an investigation into the incident.

What can be done to improve safety on construction sites?

OSHA provides construction companies with a variety of safety training materials that can be used to educate workers and help keep safety as a top priority . Examples include handouts specific to all of the fatal four accident causes and more. Detailed on ladder and scaffolding fall prevention, guard rail safety and more are just some of the materials available.

When preventive measures fail to keep California construction workers safe, further action may be needed. Talking to an attorney after an accident on a construction site is always recommended. This is a good way for workers or family members to learn how to seek appropriate compensation.