The nature of construction work makes it a dangerous career. For the men and women who work hard to make sure that the infrastructure in this country is up to par, it is vital to stay safe. They deserve to go home to their family members at the end of the day.
While there are many risks that they face on a daily basis, there are four that are responsible for the majority of the deaths of people in this industry. Here are some points you should know about what has been dubbed the “fatal four.”
Understanding the fatal 4
Falls are the most common type of accident that leads to death in the construction industry. Even when the worker survives the fall, there is a chance that they will have very serious injuries whose ramifications last a lifetime.
Being struck by an object is the second leading cause of death. These incidents are caused by falling, flying, rolling or swinging items. This can be equipment, loads, tools, debris and anything else that is at the worksite.
Electrocutions come in third on the list. Many worksites have temporary electric sources that can cause serious issues.
Being caught in between items is the fourth leading cause of death. This accident can involve any part of the body as long as it is being crushed or squeezed between two objects. Collapses, moving equipment and being pulled into a machine are some examples of accidents in this category.
Minimizing the risks
There are many specific ways to reduce the risks of these happening. Having the proper protective equipment and training workers are the two primary methods. Workers should be given the ability to take dangerous jobs slowly. With the need for fast job competition in this industry, workers might feel the need to work faster than what is safe. This should be discouraged.
Some specific ways to prevent the fatal four include:
- Falls: Fall arrest gear such as harnesses must be used when workers are at any height. Platforms, rails and toe boards are useful in some situations.
- Struck by incidents: Securing tools and equipment, establishing fall zones and using safety equipment like hardhats and safety goggles can help to minimize the chance of these events.
- Electrocution: Using a lock-out-tag-out procedure, wearing personal protective equipment and avoiding using metal objects near power lines are all advisable.
- Caught in between: Turning off equipment before repairs, forbidding loose clothing and jewelry, learning the pinch and crush points of machines and having a spotting system for heavy equipment can prevent these.
When workers suffer an injury from one of these incidents, they can seek workers’ compensation. If the worker passes away, the family members left behind might be eligible for certain benefits. Because of the complexities of this system in Illinois, it is advisable to work with someone familiar with it to help protect your interests.