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The construction industry’s fatal four workplace injuries

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ohio and nationwide, and the fatality rate associated with it is much higher than other industries. Ladders, scaffolding, excavations and electrical components all pose hazards to workers if they are not trained properly or if proper safety precautions are not taken by their employers.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work on construction sites every day. Construction safety is one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s main concerns. The agency strives to lower the number of workplace accidents and workers’ injuries, as well as to raise awareness regarding common causes of on-the-job injuries. OSHA has identified “the fatal four” types of injuries that are regularly the leading causes of construction industry deaths. Together, they are responsible for over 63 percent of all construction worker deaths in 2016.

The fatal four are falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught-in/between accidents. Falls accounted for 384 out of 991 deaths in the construction industry in 2016. Struck by object incidents accounted for 9.4 percent, electrocutions accounted for 8.3 percent and caught in/between accounted for 7.3 percent of all 2016 deaths in the construction industry. OSHA reports that 185 Ohio construction workers suffered fatal occupational injuries in 2014 alone.

These numbers also coincide with the most frequently cited OSHA standard violations in 2017, which include fall protection and fall protection training requirements, scaffolding and ladder requirements, machinery and machine guarding requirements and electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment. OSHA estimates that eliminating the “fatal four” would save 631 American workers’ lives each year. The agency continues to partner with employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates to improve workplace safety and decrease the number of workplace injuries.

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