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Detailing “the Fatal Four”

| Jan 18, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Practitioners within the construction industry in Minnesota likely know that their particular line of work routinely ranks among the most dangerous. Yet most accept the risks assuming that if they understand them, so too do their employers (and are thus prepared to protect their employees from them). 

Indeed, many of the fatalities reported from the construction industry are due to a relatively few common causes. With this information in hand, one might think that contractors and other employers within the industry would be proactive in preventing them. Yet statistics show that is often not the case. 

Common causes of construction site accidents

Industry insiders call the common causes of construction site accidents “the Fatal Four.” They include: 

  • Falls from heights 
  • Falling equipment and materials 
  • Electrocutions 
  • Crush injuries  

While crush injuries can be due to many different causes, in this context they refer to accidents where workers become caught in heavy equipment or crushed in cave-ins in trenches or other excavations. Information shared by the American Society of Safety Professionals shows that these four causes account for roughly 60% of all workplace fatalities. It therefore goes without saying that their mitigation would certainly make the industry much safer. 

Safety citations for risks related to the Fatal Four

However, information regarding the most common safety citations issued to construction companies shows that many hazards related to the Fatal Four often go overlooked. Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, its regulators list six violations specifically linked to these common causes amongst their top 10 most commonly identified safety issues. This fact implies that either employers within the industry are not doing their due diligence in keeping up with industry trends, or that an indifference towards these risks exists. Regardless, their failure to enact protections against the Fatal Four for their employees may certainly qualify as negligence.