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The Most Common Types of Construction Accidents

The So-Called “Fatal Four” Account for Almost Two-Thirds of Construction Site Fatalities

The Most Common Types of Construction AccidentsIt’s common knowledge that working on a residential or commercial construction project can be one of the most dangerous vocations in the world. You’re often working high above the ground, and you’re around power tools, heavy equipment, ladders and scaffolding.

In studies done by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it has been shown that nearly six of every ten fatal accidents on a construction site fall into one of four categories, leading authorities to dub these types of accidents the “fatal four.”

  • Falls from heights—This is far and away the single biggest cause of construction site deaths, accounting for 36% of construction site fatalities nation wide. In the most recent OSHA study, 349 of the 874 construction site fatalities in 2015 were caused by falls from heights—upper levels of high-rise projects, ladders, scaffolding, roofs, cranes, cherry pickers and other construction equipment. Not surprisingly, OSHA reported an increase in 2015 of citations issued for failure to install or erect safety guardrails or barriers, failure to maintain or properly use ladders and scaffolding, and negligence in setting up scaffolding.
  • Electrocution—During the same period, 74 construction workers lost their lives when they came into contact with live electrical current, either through overhead power lines or live wires left exposed during installation.
  • Falling objects—Almost as many construction employees (73) died in 2015 after being struck by falling debris, construction materials, tools and other items.
  • In-between accidents—Less than two percent (12) of construction fatalities in 2015 occurred when workers were caught and squeezed to death between heavy equipment and something else, like other equipment, building material, or a structure.

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