According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 3,945 work related fatalities occurred in 2012. Almost twenty percent of these reported deaths were in the construction industry. OSHA has determined that fifty-six percent of these construction industry fatalities are related to four main safety hazards. These hazards, referred to as the “Fatal Four,” include the following:
- Being Struck by an Object
- Being Caught in/between an Object
Fatal Four: Safety Measures
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities at construction sites, accounting for 35% of the total deaths in the construction industry. Wall openings, floor holes, ladders, scaffolding, roofing, and unprotected edges are just a few of the hazards that may contribute to a worker’s fatal fall. Certain safety measures can be taken to minimize injury and to prevent death, such as using harnesses, guardrails, and safety nets. According to OSHA, fall protection alone could save more than 400 lives in the construction industry every year.
The second hazard in the “fatal four” is electrocution. Power lines, inadequate grounding, improper use of equipment, and faulty power cords are some of the most common hazards associated with electrocution at construction sites. Workers should always use protective equipment when working with electrical hazards. In order to avoid accidents, employers should identify electrical hazards on site and post warning signs to alert workers of electrical risks. With proper training, workers can identify electrical hazards and avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Struck-by injuries and deaths occur when a worker is hit by another object. Vehicles, falling loads, and machinery can result in fatal struck-by accidents. The “caught in/between” accident, is similar to the struck-by accident. Caught in/between injuries occur when a construction worker is pinned between a moving object (such as a vehicle) and a stationary object, such as a wall. Struck-by and caught-between accidents can be prevented by training workers to use machinery carefully and to be aware of potential hazards.
Are you a victim of the Fatal Four?
The federal government established OSHA to regulate work environments. In order to help prevent serious injury and death, OSHA provides hundreds of safety standards for construction sites and offers various educational resources for preventing fatal four accidents. There are also workers’ compensation laws, individual to each state, which provide money to employees who are injured at work.
Generally, in Louisiana, an injured worker cannot sue his or her own employer for work related injuries. An injured worker may seek workers’ compensation benefits in the event that he is hurt on the job. While the law does not allow an employee who is injured in the normal course of work to sue the employer, there may be other parties that are at fault and liable for damages, such as property owners, general contractors, construction managers, inspectors, design engineers, and product manufacturers.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a construction accident, contact the construction accident attorneys at The Lambert Firm. The attorneys at The Lambert Firm have over 35 years of experience handling construction injury cases. If you have been injured at a construction site, let us help you get the attention and compensation you need and deserve.
If you have any questions or you would like to speak with an attorney about injuries that you or a loved one have suffered, please contact us here.