Preventing the fatal four on construction sites
The most common construction accidents are usually preventable. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes several ways to prevent the hazards that lead to construction deaths.
Here are the top four accident types and how people on the construction site can prevent them.
Falls are the number one accident type in the construction industry. Of the 1,008 construction deaths in 2018, falls caused 33.5% of them. Employers should train employees in the safe set-up and use of ladders and scaffolds. Employees should have and use fall arrest equipment, as well as install guard rails and other protection around edges. Floor openings should have secure covers, as well.
2. Struck-by accidents
Backing vehicles and heavy equipment, tools on upper levels or ledges and other potentially moving or falling objects can strike workers and cause fatal injuries. These types of accidents caused 11.1% of construction fatalities in 2018. The responsibility for preventing these accidents rests with everyone, regardless of their job duties. Employers should have safety policies and train workers.
Buried or overhead power lines, frayed cords and other electrical sources killed 86 construction workers in 2018. Ladder safety, tool and power cord maintenance and other measures can prevent these serious internal and external burn injuries.
4. Caught in/between accidents
Caught-in/between accidents frequently involve those where equipment or objects compressed or crushed workers. A total of 55 workers died in this type of preventable accident. These include accidents in trenches, so OSHA has specific rules and regulations for trench safety. These include how to create them, how to shore them up to prevent collapse and how to shield and protect those who are in them.
While some accident prevention may seem like common sense, education and training on the job site are critical to safety.