Construction workers in California face the risk of severe injury or death on the job daily. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that more than half of all work-related deaths in 2020 were due to construction accidents.
Most of these fatalities fall into one of the “fatal four” accident categories defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as follows.
Falls represent one of the most common construction-related deaths, including accidents where a worker loses balance or support and falls. Construction falls often occur from:
– Roofs, ladders and scaffolding
– Collapsing equipment or building structures
– Falls through openings
– Falls from stacked materials
Many, but not all, falls are due to inadequate safety measures and fall protections.
Electrocution occurs when a worker is exposed to deadly amounts of electrical energy. The risk of serious or fatal electrocution affects electricians and any other construction workers exposed to electrical power. Causes of electrocution on the job include:
– Using improper or inadequate electrical wiring or components
– Contact with overhead power lines and other electrical sources
– Lack of safeguards for workers from risks such as exposed wiring and other electrocution hazards
– Improper use of flexible and extension cords
Many accidents also result from failure to give workers instructions and purpose for procedures for safe control of electrical energy.
“Struck-by” fatal accidents
OSHA defines being struck as an injury from a person forcibly impacted by an object or equipment. Hazardous objects causing construction site injuries can include:
– Heavy beams
– Flying or loose debris
– Unstable or falling equipment
– Loose, rolling or swinging loads
Many of these accidents involve equipment, such as cranes or trucks, that collide with construction personnel.
Fatal “caught in or between” accidents
A person injured on the work site due to being squeezed, crushed, caught, compressed or pinched between objects is termed a caught in or between accident. These accidents include situations where workers become:
– Stuck in tanks
– Pinned by reversing vehicles
– Pulled into unguarded machinery
– Stuck under a cave-in
Most of these accidents happen due to inadequate safety measures or a lack of proper training.