OSHA’s “Fatal Four” Safety Hazards: Job-Site Safety (Part 1)

May 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm  •  Posted in Construction  •  0 Comments

As May is Building Safety Month, now’s a good time to take stock of safety standards on the job-site. Safety risks on the job are everywhere and include many avoidable dangers from the risk of falling, to electrocution, or getting caught between or struck by an object.

Article Contents:

In this blog post, I’ll discuss how the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is campaigning against a number of preventable safety hazards. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post, where I’ll feature a range of products for a safe and productive workplace.

OSHA’s Safety Crusade

OSHA is hard at work campaigning against preventable safety hazards on the construction job-site. Part of OSHA’s efforts include a national safety stand-down (from June 2-6) to raise awareness about the hazard of falls on the job-site.

During the national safety stand-down, workers and employers will take a break from their workday to discuss fall prevention including scaffolding, ladder, and roofing safety.

  Unfortunately, OSHA is also busy handing out fines and citations for job-site safety infractions.

OSHA’s “Fatal Four” Job-Site Safety Hazards

OSHA has compiled a list of the top 4 construction safety hazards (coined “The Fatal Four”). What should you know about “The Fatal Four?” First of all, they aren’t pretty. I think we can all agree that none of these would be a good way to go.

Here’s a handy infographic from Construction Biz Wiz that sums up OSHA’s top four safety hazards in the construction industry:


construction safety fatal four inforgraphic

*Infographic Credit: Construction Biz Wiz / Infographic by Viewpoint

1. Falling

Haven’t we all fallen down at least once? (Extra points if you’ve fallen down the stairs and managed to get back up.) But a fall on the construction job-site isn’t a dust-yourself-off-and-move-on kind of situation. A fall on the job could be your last.

In 2010 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 751 construction worker deaths. 35% of those fatalities resulted from falls. Workers risk tripping, slipping, or falling on the job-site due to idle materials, moving parts, or poor harnessing.

2. Getting Caught Between Objects

There are many things I’d like to get caught between, like a cold beer and a hot day, or Cheetos and a football game, but getting squeezed between objects or equipment on the job-site doesn’t top my list. (And I’m sure you agree.)

Some less enjoyable ways to get “caught between” include:

  • Cave-ins (trenching)
  • Being pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment
  • Being compressed or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects

3. Being Electrocuted

I don’t have anything clever or witty to say about being electrocuted. In all seriousness, electrocution, and any construction-related injury, is no laughing matter.

According to OSHA, the top electrocution hazards in construction include:

  • Contact with overhead power lines
  • Contact with energized sources (such as damaged or bare wires, live parts, or defective equipment/tools)
  • Improper use of extension and flexible cords

Bonus: Download this Whitepaper from Brady to develop a 5-step plan for complying with OSHA’s lockout/tagout regulations.

4. Getting Struck by an Object

OSHA cites being struck by an object as one of the top causes of death in the construction industry. Construction workers are most often struck by:

  • Heavy equipment and vehicles, like trucks and cranes
  • Flying or falling objects, such as airborne particles or materials
  • Concrete or masonry walls being constructed

200% Accountability

One way to reinforce safety on the job is to wrangle everyone up to sign a “200% accountability poster.” I found an interesting blog post on job-site safety by Crucial Skills that used 200% accountability to reduce injuries and accidents for a team of oil rig workers. The idea is that workers are 100% responsible for themselves and 100% responsible for confronting each other on questionable safety compliance.

Over to You:

Thinking about your teammates’ or your demise isn’t exactly fun. But a lot of accidents are preventable, and the discussion needs to happen. How do you minimize the top safety risks on the job? Join the discussion by leaving a comment (below).

About The Author
Todd Reed, National Market ManagerTodd Reed, National Market Manager

Husband to a professionally-licensed architectural engineer and lighting designer, and son-in-law to an electrician, Todd knows the importance of efficiency, safety, and productivity for electrical contractors. Todd is a seasoned professional, with 5 years’ experience within a family-owned distribution business, and 10 years as a Graybar employee. As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.


Sources & Credits

U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Safety in the Construction Industry [Infographic] Construction Biz Wiz
Develop an Effective OSHA-Compliant Lockout Tagout Program in 5 Steps Brady

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