Understanding the ‘Fatal Four’ workers’ compensation injuries

The fatal four workplace hazards in the construction industry are responsible for the deaths of many workers every year.

Millions of people in California and throughout the United States go to work every day with the expectation that they will complete their day of work and return home to their families. A surprisingly number of people, however, receive debilitating injuries while on-the-job. In some cases, these injures can affect a person's ability to continue working, inhibit their ability to function on a daily basis or even end in their untimely death.

The facts

According to the United States Department of Labor, approximately 4,836 people were killed as a result of workplace accidents in 2015. This is the latest information reported by the department. Of these employee fatalities, 21.4% or 937 deaths were in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has categorized these deaths into four main areas, which are referred to as the Fatal Four. These causes of death are the main focus when dealing with construction workplace hazards.

The 'Fatal Four'

The number one cause of death in the construction industry is falls. Approximately 38.8 percent of construction fatalities occurred when workers fell from scaffolding, beams or other high places while on-the-job. Structing that has not been made to securely hold construction workers may collapse and send a number of people falling to their deaths.

At least 90 people who were killed in workplace incidents were struck by an object, such as vehicles, equipment and objects falling from overhead places where people are working underneath. Although wearing the appropriate hardhat can help reduce the extent of injury, workers still run the risk of concussion, blindness and death.

Workers who touch live wires or who are standing in the wrong place while electrical work is being performed run the risk of getting electrocuted. OSHA reported that 8.6% of people who were killed in construction accidents were electrocuted in this fashion.

Construction workers who were crushed because they were caught in-between a moving object or structure, such as heavy equipment, machinery or other materials makes up the last category of the final four. Another 67 or 7.2% of people died in this fashion.

Employers' responsibility

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that construction workers have a safe environment in which to perform their jobs. Although employees are also held to certain safety standards, it is ultimately up to the company to ensure all safety requirements are meant before they send construction workers onto the jobsite.

Getting the legal help you need

If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace accident, you may want to speak to an attorney regarding your legal options. An attorney in California who handles workers' compensation cases may be helpful in answering your questions and pointing you in the right direction when it comes to organizing a strong case.