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The “Fatal Four” of Construction

Texas had the highest number of construction job fatalities in the nation at 105 employees in 2012, according to the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This staggering statistic should come as no surprise considering the top three fastest growing cities in the nation are Houston, Austin and Dallas, respectively. More than half of these injuries can be attributed to “The Fatal Four” causes – fall, caught between objects, electrocutions, and struck by objects. Below are facts with suggestions on how to avoid these common occurrences.




Thirty-six percent of fatal four accidents are due to falls. Many are caused by insufficient guardrails and safety nets, unstable ladders, and  improper safety precautions while standing on scaffolding. In order to avoid such occurrences, it is imperative to make sure the equipment is sturdy and completely in-tact before attempting to use it.


Caught Between Objects


As the second most common fatal injury in the construction injury, 10 percent of fatalities are due to workers caught between objects or on-site equipment. There are a few common cases that are referenced again and again in construction manuals including falling dump truck bodies which trap workers, getting caught in the rotating parts of equipment, and vehicle or tractor tip overs. Remaining cautious and aware of potential mishappenings is crucial to staying safe on the job.




Electrocutions account for nine percent of fatal four accidents. Working with wires is a very serious job and should be treated accordingly. If you find yourself in such a position, be sure to keep your eye open for a number of threats. Some common sights to stay away from include damaged equipment, faulty wiring, damp or wet surrounding areas and equipment that is not grounded. Wires are small and sometimes cannot be seen, so it is important to stay alert at all times when working with electrical construction.


Struck by Objects


The least common of the fatal four is workers struck by objects, which accounts for two percent of the total fatal four accidents. The two pieces of equipment that account for the majority of incidents are nail guns and cranes. Both are very powerful tools and if used improperly can be very dangerous. Be sure to never have your finger resting on the trigger of a nail gun or pointing at any individual. When using cranes, do not work under lifted loads in case it falls for any reason.

If you have recently experienced a work related injury, contact Colley & Colley law firm in Austin, Texas. Beyond employers, third party vendors can also be to blame, hiring an attorney for a free consultation is the best way to be sure you are fully compensated for your injuries. Colley & Colley law firm wants to make sure construction workers are playing it safe at work.