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OSHA's top four fatal construction hazards

Dangers lurk everywhere on any construction site, but some accidents are more likely to affect a worker than others. According to Safety and Health magazine, a publication of the National Safety Council, in 2016, just four hazards were responsible for over 63 percent of the fatal injuries on construction sites.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration provides more information about these four hazards, and steps everyone on the site can take to prevent these tragedies from occurring. 

1. Falls

Anyone can fall anywhere, but on a construction site, people working at heights and near trenches are more likely to suffer severe injuries from the accident. Working on ladders, scaffolds, structures and roofs, workers should wear safety gear such as harnesses, and ensure that all surfaces are clean, dry and stable.

2. Struck-by

Heavy equipment such as backhoes, cranes, bulldozers and dump trucks are common on most job sites. People operating these machines may not always have a clear view of the area around them. Everyone on the site should wear bright clothing for maximum visibility and avoid spaces between any moving object and fixed object. 

3. Caught-in/between

Many of these accidents occur in and around trenches. The weight of a relatively small amount of dirt can easily match that of a small car, depending on the type of soil. Any trench that is deeper than five feet should have a safety system such as shielding, shoring, sloping or benching in place to prevent cave-ins.

4. Electrocution

Power lines may be above or below the job site. These must all be mapped out before any excavation or construction begins, and safe distances maintained, particularly when using equipment that can conduct electricity well, such as ladders and scaffolds. Frayed cords on power tools also have the potential to cause electrical burns. These should be inspected for wear before each use. 

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