When you work on a New York construction site, or, conversely, if you are married to someone who works on a New York construction site, you may have legitimate concerns about just how dangerous these types of work environments often are. When you make your living in construction, you do so within one of the nation’s most dangerous industries; numerous hazards on most construction sites can cause serious injuries and death.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more than 20% of all deaths that occurred in the American private sector in 2017 happened on construction sites. While one out of every five private-sector worker deaths in 2017 came from the construction industry, almost 60% of those work-related fatalities stemmed from the same four root causes.
The Fatal Four
Dubbed construction’s “Fatal Four,” the four leading causes of construction worker fatalities kill about 600 Americans every year. Many of the accidents leading to these deaths could be preventable if workers and employers consistently prioritized safety. So, just what are construction’s Fatal Four?
The biggest threat currently faced by today’s construction workers is the risk of falling. More than 39% of all construction worker deaths in 2017 involved falls, with 381 out of 971 construction worker fatalities stemming from falls. Construction workers also run the risk of having objects strike them when working on construction sites, and this caused another 8.2% of all 2017 construction worker deaths.
Electrocution, meanwhile, resulted in 71, or 7.3%, of 2017’s construction industry deaths, while workers who got caught or stuck between something or crushed by something caused another 5.1% of construction deaths in 2017.
Many of the deaths that occur on American construction sites could be preventable if workers and employers were more stringent about following safety protocols and ensuring a safe work environment. Employers need to consistently require that their workers wear hard hats and other protective gear, and they also must take strides to make sure workers erect platforms and scaffolds correctly to avoid collapses or similar accidents.