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Construction worker wearing a neon jacket checks on his colleague who has just fallen and gotten hurt

What Are the “Fatal Four” In Construction Accidents?

Without a doubt, construction is one of the most dangerous and necessary occupations out there. Unfortunately, construction worker injuries are common.

However, injuries as a result of particular accidents tend to occur more often than others within the field of construction work. In particular, the following injuries are considered the “fatal four,” because they are the top four causes of construction fatalities:

  • Falls
  • Struck-By
  • Caught-In/Between
  • Electrocutions

Read on to learn more about the fatal four.

Fatal Four Construction Hazards

#1 - Falls

Falls are the most common injury causing death in the construction industry. Falls often occur in environments under construction by:

  • Falling off of overhead platforms
  • Falling off of elevated workstations
  • Falling into holes in the floor and walls

According to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fall protection in the construction industry must be provided when elevations are six feet or greater. Additionally, fall prediction must be provided when working over hazardous equipment and machinery, no matter the fall distance.

#2 - Struck-By

According to OSHA, struck-by accidents include “injuries...produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment.”

However, it’s important to keep in mind that in construction, struck-by hazards can look very similar to caught-in or -between hazards.

In order to determine whether an injury occurred due to a struck-by or caught-in/between incident, consider this question:

  • Did the impact of the object alone cause the injury?

When the impact alone causes the injury, it is considered a struck-by event. Conversely, when an injury occurs as a result of crushing between objects, the incident is considered caught-in/between.

#3 - Caught-In

Caught-in hazards occur when a worker could be caught inside of or in between different objects,” according to OSHA.

These types of dangers are often created when heavy equipment is involved in the construction work. The following are examples of some events that should be considered caught-in accidents:

  • Cave-ins (trenching)
  • Getting pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment (including strangulation due to clothing caught in running machinery and equipment)
  • Getting compressed or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects (including semi-trailers and a dock wall, or between a truck frame and a hydraulic bed that is lowering)

#4 - Electrocutions

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “More than half of the electrocutions of electrical workers were caused by direct (from [a] power source) or indirect contact with live electrical equipment and wiring (including light fixtures, circuit breakers, control panels, junction boxes, and transformers).”

For non-electrical workers, the leading cause of electrocution injuries is contact with overhead or underground power lines. These fatalities are often the result of the failure to de-energize or safeguard the power lines and the failure to maintain minimum clearance distances from power lines.

Additionally, electrocutions often occur as a result of improper use or care of extension cords.

Most of the workers who lose their lives as a result of electrical injuries are not trained electrical specialists, including, construction:

  • Laborers
  • Roofers
  • Service workers
  • Other occupations

We’re Here to Help

If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you may be able to recover compensation to help cover your losses. Our team is highly skilled in this area of the law and has helped many others in similar situations obtain the compensation they deserved. We may be able to help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office right away with any questions you may have.

Contact Rancaño & Rancaño, APLC today by calling (916) 884-6554 or by filling out the online contact form with the details of your case to learn more about how we can help you.