The Fatal Four – How to Protect Your Employees

Every construction employers worst nightmare – the Fatal Four. Electrocutions, struck by hazards, falls and caught in/between hazards. Workplace injuries are a huge issue for employers and employees alike. When safety standards are ignored, major and minor accidents can result with sometimes fatal consequences. Along with that, OSHA can levy hefty fines against construction firms for their failure to address safety issues. Fines can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, or in severe cases reach into the millions. Construction companies have a duty to protect their employees from these on-the-job hazards. In this post, we’ll explore some essential ways that construction companies can protect their employees from these common dangers.

Construction workers are exposed to a variety of dangers while on the job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Fatal Four are the biggest dangers. Let’s take a closer look at each of these dangers in turn and explore some ways that construction companies can protect their employees from them.

Electrocutions: One way to protect employees from electrocutions is to make sure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded and that all electrical cords are in good condition. Employees should also be trained on how to safely use electrical equipment and what to do if they see damaged equipment. Proper training is often ignored and sloppy habits easily become the norm so it is up to management to regularly keep on top of training.

Struck by Hazards: Employees can be protected from struck by hazards by following some simple safety procedures, such as wearing hard hats and using caution when operating machinery. Additionally, construction companies can create “safe zones” around areas where work is being done that could result in falling debris.

Falls: Falls are one of the most common types of accidents in the construction industry. To prevent falls, construction companies should provide employees with fall protection gear, such as harnesses, lanyards, and scaffolding. Additionally, employees should be trained on how to safely use this gear and how to identify potential fall hazards. Ignoring fall protection standards is unfortunately one of the top offenders reported to and found by OSHA. Many companies repeatedly violate fall safety procedures and are fined over and over again for this issue. Don’t let you firm be a culprit of this common but easily fixed issue.

Caught in/Between Hazards: Caught in/between accidents can be prevented by following company enforced safety procedures, such as never working alone and always using proper lifting techniques. Only use equipment with all of the guards in position and are properly adjusted. Be attentive to wearing proper PPE and avoid loose fitting clothing that can easily get caught in machinery. Respect barricades on the site and report any barricades that may have fallen down.

Construction companies have a responsibility to protect their employees from on-the-job hazards. There are a variety of dangers that construction workers face on a daily basis, but by following some simple safety procedures and providing proper training and equipment, these dangers can be minimized.

Photo Credit: – Field Engineer; – Mikael Blomkvist