The Fatal Four: Avoiding Construction's Deadliest OSHA Hazards
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to work in which is why programs and initiatives like Construction Safety Week (May 3 – 7, 2021) are so important to raising awareness about the importance of construction safety. Of the 5,333 worker deaths in 2019, 1,061 were in construction. That means out of every five worker deaths in 2019 was in construction, a percentage that has remained fairly constant over the last several years.
The Fatal Four
Four of the leading causes of construction worker fatalities, excluding transportations incidents, are falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, and being caught in or between objects. OSHA has dubbed these the “Fatal Four” and typically accounts for over half of all construction worker deaths each year.
The total number of construction fatalities has been on the rise the past two years, after seeing a decline in 2017. There were 971 construction worker deaths in 2017, 1,008 in 2018, and 1,061 in 2019. The fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers also increased in 2019, going from 9.5 in 2017 and 2018 to 9.7.
Construction Jobs With the Highest Number of Fatalities in 2019
The top 10 occupations that resulted in fatal injuries in the construction industry in 2019 were:
- Construction Laborers 293 deaths (259 in 2018)
- Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers 136 deaths (144 in 2018)
- Roofers 111 deaths (96 in 2018)
- Carpenters 99 deaths (86 in 2018)
- Electricians 68 deaths (80 in 2018)
- Construction Equipment Operators 62 deaths (51 in 2018)
- Painters and Paperhangers 42 deaths (31in 2018)
- Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 40 deaths (37 in 2018)
- Highway Maintenance Workers 21 deaths (14 in 2018)
- Structural Iron and Steel Workers 18 deaths (15 in 2018)