The fatal four in construction: What you should know

The top four causes of death in the construction industry, referred to as the ‘fatal four’ can seriously injure construction workers.

The construction industry employs hundreds of thousands of people in California and across the United States. While inspectors work hard to ensure the safety of construction worksites, many catastrophic accidents still occur. These construction accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries and even death to unsuspecting workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 4,379 workers were killed as a result of workplace accidents in 2015. Of that number, 21.4 percent were in construction. That calculates to one in five worker deaths. OSHA has labeled the top four causes of death in the field of construction, 'the fatal four' to distinguish where the major problems lie.

Identifying the fatal four

The number one cause of death in the construction industry is falls. This includes falls from scaffolding, workplace structures, ladders and other machines and equipment. Although protective measures are required and building site managers are responsible for ensuring the use of safety measures, falls continue to cause traumatic brain injury, fractured bones, lacerations, paralysis and death. In fact, 38.8 percent of construction deaths stem from fall injuries.

Workers who are struck by an object make up 9.6 percent of deaths on construction worksites. People may be hit by a falling object or struck by a moving object. The third cause of death is electrocution, making up 8.6 percent of injury deaths. Workers can become electrocuted when they work near live wires and failing to use standard tagout/lockout procedures while on the job, according to the Construction Occupational Safety & Health. Furthermore, workers may not know that they are working near live wires if the construction site has not been set up properly.

Finally, 7.2 percent of construction deaths are the result of workers being caught in-between pieces of equipment or compressed by machine parts. By eliminating the top four causes of construction deaths, 602 lives would be spared every year.

Where to turn for assistance

People who have been seriously injured in a construction accident often require assistance from an experienced attorney who understands the state and federal laws surrounding the industry. In addition to answering any questions you may have, an attorney in California may help explore your legal options and which route of action is best for your unique situation. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work and emotional trauma.