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Construction’s “Fatal Four” cause majority of worker deaths

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Construction is an inherently dangerous industry, and as someone who makes a living working in it, you may understand all too well just how risky your day-to-day life on the job can be. While you face numerous work-related hazards in your place of employment, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that most construction-related deaths result from what is known as the industry’s “Fatal Four.

In fact, construction workers suffered one out of every five American worker deaths that occurred in 2016, with a total of 991 construction deaths happening that year alone. Safety advocates believe that eliminating construction’s “Fatal Four” would save an estimated 631 lives annually, so recognizing exactly where your hazards are may help you work to avoid them.


Falls is a big one, with falls causing 384 out of the 991 construction worker deaths that occurred in 2016. This includes falls from scaffolding or falls from heights, among other types, but all types of falls can cause serious injuries, and in many cases, death.

Blunt traumas

Many construction workers also suffer injuries when objects, machinery or equipment strike them in some way while on the job. For example, tools and construction materials can fall off a scaffold and injure those working below.


Another 82 American construction workers died in 2016 after experiencing electrocution. Often, electrocution occurs on construction sites because workers erect scaffolds or other equipment too close to power lines.

“Caught in between” injuries

A fourth common cause of construction worker deaths in America is workers who find themselves caught in between infrastructure or equipment at construction sites. This category also covers workers who die because scaffolds collapse and trap them underneath.

Many construction worker deaths are avoidable. Your employer has a duty to protect you while on the job as much as possible, but you, too, can do your part by making sure to always wear proper protective equipment and otherwise exercise safe practices at the job site.

If you have suffered an on-the-job injury or a family member has died while working, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. In some cases, you may also be eligible for additional compensation through a third-party claim. Speak with an attorney to learn about your legal options.

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