In the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s ongoing quest to improve workplace safety, the agency runs awareness campaigns to remind employers in New York and elsewhere of their responsibilities to protect the health and safety of their employees. The Focus Four Hazards initiative — or Fatal Four — aims to draw the attention to the primary causes of construction workers’ accidents. Reportedly about six to nine of every 10 deaths in the construction industry are caused by one of the Fatal Four hazards.
Falls make up the majority of fatalities in this industry. Typical causes include raised areas and holes or openings with unprotected edges, working and walking surfaces that are improperly constructed such as scaffolds, and improper use of ladders and other access equipment. Slips and trips also cause many fatal falls, and the failure to use fall protection appropriately is also a significant concern.
The numbers indicate that struck-by and caught-in-or-between hazards follow next. Struck-by hazards include falling and flying objects, vehicles and mechanical equipment such as forklifts. Caught-in-or-between fatalities occur when trenches collapse or during equipment rollovers. Also when contact is made with unguarded moving and rotating parts of machinery — while working, cleaning or doing maintenance and repairs.
The fourth fatal hazard is electrocution, which occurs when workers come in contact with live circuits or overhead power lines. However, the failure to maintain power tools and cords can be deadly, and lightning strikes have also been known to cause fatal construction workers’ accidents. New York families who have had to cope with the deaths of loved ones in work-related accidents may seek death benefits to cover the costs of funerals and burials along with lost wages. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist with the navigation of the claims.
Source: safety.blr.com, “OSHA again highlights Focus Four Hazards”, April 9, 2018