The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a report in 2014 in which it listed the “fatal four” injuries that construction workers were most vulnerable to suffering at a job site. The government regulatory agency noted that at least 58% of the injuries that construction workers suffer are one of the four that made it on that list.
OSHA recently published its most recent construction worker injury data for fiscal year 2020. It lists the top 10 injuries that construction workers suffered last year.
There’s some overlap between the injuries listed on OSHA’s “fatal four” and 2020 data. Have you suffered one of these more common construction injuries?
Which construction injuries make it on the “fatal four” list?
The four injury types that comprise OSHA’s fatal four injuries include:
Falls: OSHA’s data shows that these result in at least 100,000 construction workers suffering injuries or dying annually in the U.S. These incidents occur because employers fail to provide their employees with adequate injury-avoidance training. Employers also fail to demand that their workers wear safety equipment or properly maintain it.
Electrocutions: These injured 4,000 and kill 300 construction workers each year. They’re preventable if employers offer employees personal protective equipment (PPE) and better training.
Caught-between or in injuries: These often result from construction companies pushing their employees to use equipment without training. They may also occur because employers fail to remind their employees not to wear jewelry or wear their hair down, or to keep body parts free from moving parts.
Struck-by-object injuries: Improperly secured loads or tools may come loose and fall on a construction worker down below. Employers can help eliminate such incidents by requiring their employees to wear hard hats and installing safety nets to catch falling tools. In addition, employers can do a better job of encouraging their employees to survey the area before dropping a load.
Which construction injuries were most common in 2020?
Most of the injuries construction workers suffered in 2020 fall into the categories listed above. The only additional ones that did not were respiratory protection issues. Employers presumably failed to provide or require their workers with the necessary PPE to protect themselves against illness and toxic substances.
Steps to take if you suffer injuries on a construction job site
California law requires almost every employer to secure workers’ compensation coverage necessary to ensure that their employees receive adequate medical attention and that they can recover lost wages if a workplace accident leaves them injured. You’ll want to notify your employer of your incident and seek medical attention right after it occurs. You may find it necessary to consult with an attorney if your employer doesn’t help walk you through the workers’ compensation process.