Workers nationwide, including Tennessee, risk an endless list of safety hazards, many of them unique to particular projects. However, across the board, construction sites pose four hazards that are called the “Fatal Four.” Fortunately, after safety authorities have identified the most prevalent construction site dangers, employers and employees can take precautions to avoid falling victim to those hazards.
The most significant of the four hazards involve falls. Approximately four in 10 fatal construction site accidents were linked to falls from heights exceeding six feet. Most concerning is the evidence that most of the fall-related deaths happened when employers failed to equip workers with fall arrest protection devices. Furthermore, it is reported that many deaths occur to workers wearing inadequate fall protection.
Number two and three are struck-by hazards and caught in or between objects. Struck-by hazards include moving machines or equipment, flying debris and falling objects. Caught in or between hazards have claimed many lives of workers who found themselves between objects that squeezed, crushed, caught, compressed or pinched them between moving parts or objects. Along with risks in industrial settings, trenches and excavations pose significant caught in or between threats.
Electrocutions are second to falls when it comes to construction site fatalities. Common causes include direct contact with live wires and energized equipment as well as indirect contact with electricity, such as through booms or other tall equipment that make contact with overhead power lines. Although employers must protect construction workers from the fatal four hazards, those who are injured will likely be eligible for benefits through the Tennessee workers’ compensation system, which covers medical expenses and lost wages.