Do you know how to prevent the “Focus Four Hazards” in your workplace? Falls, Struck-by, Electrocutions, and Caught-in/Between account for 60% of construction fatalities. In 2023, IEC is renewing its commitment to helping members, their employees, and their businesses stay healthy and safe by providing members with resources from reputable public sources and IEC safety leaders. IEC strives to make these accident prevention resources more accessible to members and stress the importance of implementing a safety focus within their organizations.
Focus Four Hazards
The four leading causes of construction site deaths are:
Falls are the leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 378 fatalities in 2021. Of all the Focus Four Hazards, falls are the deadliest. Each year in the U.S. more than 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by falls. These accidents are preventable.
-PLAN ahead to get the job done safely.
-PROVIDE the right equipment.
-TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely.
Struck-by incidents are a leading cause of death among construction workers and the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the construction industry. CPWR has created resources to increase awareness of struck-by hazards and ways to prevent struck-by incidents.
Types of “struck by object” accidents include:
- - Struck by powered non-transport vehicle.
- - Struck by falling object or equipment, oftentimes while being hoisted or lowered.
- - Struck by discharged or flying object.
Employers are routinely cited for failing to adequately secure and guard heavy machinery that is common to construction sites.
Electrocutions result when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Exposure to electricity can also cause burns, shocks, arc flash/arc blast, fire, explosions, and falls. Damaged tools and equipment, contact with overhead power lines, wet conditions, overloaded circuits, exposed electrical parts, or improper grounding and wiring, can all expose workers to electrical hazards. IEC aims to protect merit shop contractors exposed to electrical dangers in the workplace. Resources from OSHA and CPWR are valuable tools in for understanding electrical hazards and how to work safely.
What electrical hazards do electricians face?
There are four main types of electrical injuries:
- Electrocution (fatal)
- Electric shock
- Burns/Arc blast
- Fatal falls from height (ladders) caused as a result of contact with electrical energy
Caught-in/between injuries result when a worker gets squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects or parts of an object. One of the Focus Four Hazards, fatalities and injuries are due to insufficient safety measures when working around or in excavation sites. In 2019, caught-in/between incidents accounted for 5.4% of all fatalities within the construction industry. These types of accidents can largely be prevented with adherence to safety procedures and regulation.
Examples of caught-in/between accidents include:
· Cave-ins (trenching)
· Being pulled into or caught in machinery and equipment (this includes strangulation as the result of clothing caught in running machinery and equipment)
· Being compressed or crushed between rolling, sliding, or shifting objects such as semi-trailers and a dock wall, or between a truck frame and a hydraulic bed that is lowering
Preventing Caught-in/Between Accidents Before They Happen
· Establish a clear safety policy for the workplace.
· Provide education and training for all employees on caught in/between hazards.
· Conduct regular safety inspections of equipment and tools.