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Protecting workers from the Fatal Four

| Jul 27, 2019 | Workplace Injuries

Construction work is one of the most dangerous professions that people in Wauwatosa can engage in. The unique nature of the work, the resources used in accomplishing it and the conditions that it is performed in all contribute to the dangers that its participants face. According to information shared by the Laborer’s Health & Safety Fund of North America, one in five of the workplace fatalities that were reported in 2016 occurred in the construction industry. 

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reports that every year, nearly 60 percent of fatalities in the construction industry have been attributed to the following four causes: 

  • Falls from heights
  • Being struck by falling objects
  • Electrocutions
  • Being caught in or in-between work surfaces or equipment

That these four particular hazards are so prevalent in the construction industry should prompt employers within that industry to take whatever steps are necessary to protect workers from them. OSHA offers its own recommendations to help keep employees safe from these dangers. To protect employees from falls, employers should provide employees with fall arrest equipment and proper perimeter protection when requiring employees to work on elevated surfaces. Properly using ladders and scaffolding as well as covering and marking floor openings can also go a long way towards preventing falls. 

Providing head protection and requiring employees to wear bright, visible clothing might protect them from being struck by falling objects. Employers should also ensure that all utilities and power lines have been located and addressed before commencing any work near them to help preventing electrocutions. When work with electricity or electrical tools is required, tools should be double insulated and ground-fault circuit interrupters should be used for protection. Employees can help prevent crush injuries by ensuring that stress protection systems are in place in any trench or excavation deeper than five feet.