There's no doubt that construction work can be dangerous. Any time you're doing physical labor or working with heavy machinery, there is some risk of injury.
But, most people don't understand how common fatal construction accidents are. In 2014, more than 20 percent of workplace deaths happened in the construction field.
Blame the "fatal four"
Almost 60 percent of construction deaths can be traced back to four main causes. In fact, they're so dangerous that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls them the "fatal four." They are:
- Being struck by a falling object
- "Caught in/between" accidents (cave-ins, getting caught in machinery, being caught between a vehicle and an object, etc.)
According to OSHA, more than 500 lives could be saved every year if proper steps were taken to address these hazards.
What can be done to help?
Good training is the key to preventing workplace accidents and deaths. All workers should be taught how to perform their jobs safely and use equipment properly. No one should ever use a new piece of equipment or take on a new task without first being trained.
In addition, there are steps every worker can take to ensure their jobsite is safe for everyone. They include:
- Using fall protection when working at heights
- Making sure scaffolds are properly assembled
- Identifying and avoiding utility lines
- Making sure electrical tools are properly grounded or insulated
- Securing equipment and loads to prevent falls
- Using the appropriate guards on all machinery
- Taking extra precautions in enclosed spaces
By focusing on these steps, you may very well safe a life.