Construction's Fatal Four: A Case Study

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Federal OSHA is an agency responsible for the safety and health of 130 million workers and 8 million worksites throughout the nation. According to information obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, more than 4,500 workers were killed in 2013. When compared to 2012, fatal work injuries related to the private construction sector increased by 3 percent. This increase represents the largest number of fatal work injuries in this sector since 2009. In 2013, the fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for nearly 20 percent of all fatal work injuries.
Construction’s Fatal Four

Out of the 4,101 worker fatalities that occurred within the private industry in 2013, 828 occurred in the construction sector; totaling one in
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Caught-in/between account for 2.5 percent (21 deaths) of construction related deaths.

In 2013, these Fatal Four were responsible for nearly 60 percent of the construction worker deaths. Eliminating Construction’s Fatal Four would save the lives of almost 500 workers’ every year.
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Launches Inspection

In May of 2014, the substantial number of construction deaths related to falls caused Cal/OSHA to launch an inspection initiative. In a press release, acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum stated that the goal of the initiative is to raise workers’ awareness about the hazards related to the construction industry so they can be identified and corrected.
California’s Operation Underground Identifies 80 Worker Safety Violations

On Aug. 27, 2014, California’s Operation Underground took place at construction sites throughout the state. Inspections were conducted by 10 investigators from the California Labor Commissioner’s Office and Cal/OSHA.

Hazards discovered:

Stairways and scaffolding without guardrails. Saws without appropriate safety guards. Failure to maintain workers’ compensation coverage.


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