Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in California. According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal accidents are on the rise in the state, with the construction industry being one of the most deadly.

To make construction sites safer for workers, OSHA has identified the top four construction hazards. Dubbed the “Fatal Four,” these four accident types account for the majority of severe injuries and deaths.

These hazards are falls, struck-by incidents, caught-in/between accidents, and electrocutions. By spreading awareness of these accidents, we aim to reduce their frequency.

Preventing Falls

Falls are the most common accidents in the construction industry, leading to significant injuries. To reduce the risk of falling on a construction site, follow these tips:

  1. Use Protective Equipment – A hard hat should always be standard on a construction site and may help reduce the impact of a fall. Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) can help prevent falls in the first place. This equipment includes a safety belt or vest connected to a secure anchor point.
  2. Install Perimeter Protection – Safety perimeters such as guardrails, safety nets, and toe boards can prevent workers from falling off roofs and through floor openings.
  3. Cover Floor Openings – Besides guard rails, ensuring that floor openings are covered can decrease the likelihood of a fall. Securing these covers in place can also prevent their accidental removal.
  4. Ladder and Scaffold Safety – Maintaining ladders and scaffolds according to manufacturer instructions can keep them in good working condition. Also, training workers on the proper assembly and use of scaffolding can prevent dangerous mistakes.

Preventing Struck-By Incidents

A struck-by incident is when an object or vehicle hits a worker. Construction sites are often loud, which can make it hard for workers to hear approaching vehicles or vehicle operators to hear warnings from nearby workers. The following tips can reduce these incidents:

  1. Maintain Safe Positioning – Never position yourself between moving and fixed objects. If you’re directing a vehicle toward a fixed object, stand safely out of the way.
  2. Wear High-Visibility Clothing – High-visibility vests, hard hats, and other clothing are designed to make workers stand out. This clothing is especially important in reduced-visibility situations like nighttime highway construction.

Preventing Caught-In/Between Accidents

A caught-in/between accident is when a worker gets squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or trapped between objects. Here’s how you can avoid these situations:

  1. Excavation Safety – Trenches and holes are common places for workers to get trapped. You should always have a protective system when entering an excavation at least five feet deep.
  2. Collapse Prevention – Use sloping, shoring, benching, or shield systems to prevent trenches and holes from collapsing on workers.  

Preventing Electrocutions

Electrocutions are extremely dangerous hazards on construction sites because of the damage they can do to internal organs. You should always get checked by a medical professional after an electrocution. Safety measures to prevent these accidents include:

  1. Identify Utilities – Locate and identify all utilities before starting work. Knowing where live wires and pipes are can prevent accidental contact with them while working.
  2. Use Caution Around Power Lines – Before operating equipment, look for overhead power lines and keep a safe distance from them
  3. Ground Electrical Tools – Ground or double-insulate all electrical tools before use.
  4. Use Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters – Install GFCIs on temporary wiring to protect against faulty electrics.
  5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings – There are a lot of objects that conduct electricity on construction sites. Use caution when working on metal ladders or scaffolding.

Contact Our Construction Accident Lawyers in Walnut Creek

By following OSHA’s guidelines, construction workers can significantly reduce their risk of being injured in one of these “Fatal Four” accidents. And when even taking safety precautions isn’t enough to prevent an injury, they can turn to the team with Casper, Meadows, Schwartz, & Cook for help pursuing fair compensation. If you’ve been hurt in an accident in Walnut Creek don’t wait—contact us today for a free consultation.