People who work in the construction industry face risks that can lead to death. There are four specific hazards that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have dubbed the Fatal Four. Many deaths could be prevented if companies took steps to minimize these dangers.
The Fatal Four includes falls, struck-by incidents, caught in or between accidents, and electrocutions. The safety plan must include preventative measures that can help to keep workers safe. Not only should these be part of the plan, but they must also be the subjects of reminders throughout a worker's career. Even walking safety meetings can be beneficial in these cases.
Preventing falls on the job site
Falls are the leading cause of deaths. They can be prevented by ensuring workers only use ladders, scaffolding and other equipment that is in good working condition. Personal fall arrest equipment can also help, but only if the proper methods and lengths are used. Any areas where workers can fall, such as holes in the ground, should be clearly marked to help make them easy to spot.
Minimizing struck-by incidents
One hazard that comes with these job sites is the heavy equipment. When workers are near this type of traffic, they should have on high-visibility gear to make it easier for the operators to spot. Some machinery should only be used if there is a spotter to ensure that nobody is in the way. Everyone who is near the equipment must pay attention to the location so they don't move into the pathway of it.
Stopping caught in and between accidents
Trenches and excavation sites are the primary issues for this type of fatal accident. In order to stop worker deaths and a good portion of the injuries that come with these, protective systems must be in place. Any area that is at least 5 feet deep must have one. This can be a trench shield, benching, sloping or shoring. The absence of these can lead to cave-ins that trap workers.
Reduce the risk of electrocutions
Electrocutions don't come only from overhead power lines. They can also happen with temporary or mobile sources of power. Clearly mark any overhead lines, only use ground-fault circuit interrupters, and ensure all cords or lines are free from defects. Anything that is known to have an issue with the electrical components must be tagged out for repair or replacement.
When a worker is harmed by one of these issues, workers' compensation can step in to cover the medical care costs and possibly the missed wages. If the worker passes away due to the injury, their family members may also turn to the program for benefits. Learning the specifics for your situation can help you to determine what to do.