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A Look at the “Fatal 4” in the Virginia Construction Industry

Considering the nature of the construction work environment, it should come as no surprise to find that accidents can lead to serious injuries for Virginia workers. In fact, certain types of incidents are so extreme that they have earned the nickname the “Fatal Four” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These accidents caused 971 fatalities in 2017, which was more than 59% of all construction worker deaths that year. OSHA researchers estimate that eliminating the risk of these incidents would save the lives of 582 construction employees every year.

Until the complete elimination of the Fatal Four, however, they remain a threat. You do have rights as an injured worker, and as the family member of an employee who is killed due to a workplace accident. Count on a  Virginia workers’ compensation attorney for the specifics, but some general information may be useful.

The Fatal Four in Virginia Construction Accidents

Approximately one in five of all employee fatalities in the US every year are in the construction industry. Whether due to a violation of OSHA regulations or other circumstances, any worker is at risk of being involved in one of the Fatal Four accidents, which include: 

Falls: The number one killer of construction employees – excluding motor vehicle accidents – is falling from a height. Just over 39% of all fatalities are the result of such accidents. An associated statistic is revealing: Inadequate fall protection tops the list of safety violations cited by OSHA. For instance, an employer may neglect to install:

  • Safety harnesses around scaffolding;
  • Steel barriers;
  • Guardrail system; or,
  • Other measures designed to eliminate or reduce the potential for deadly falls. 

Being Struck by an Object: Coming in second on the Fatal Four list is an employee being struck by an object that was airborne, falling, swinging, or rolling. These accidents comprise more than 8% of deaths in the construction industry. OSHA has established rules regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but the biggest threat to a worker is often being unaware. Employees may be struck by an object while performing unrelated job tasks at some distance away.

Electrocution in Construction: These incidents represent around 7% of all construction worker deaths. Electrocution may result from:

  • Not identifying sources of electricity;
  • Failing to account for overhead power lines; and,
  • Neglect in utilizing electrical machinery and tools.

Being Caught in or Between Objects: This category includes cave-ins, such as what might occur near a construction site trench or excavations. Accidents that pin a worker make up approximately 5% of construction industry fatalities in the US every year. OSHA has also established regulations regarding protective systems, but not all employers know or understand their legal responsibilities. 

Discuss Construction Accidents with a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer 

For more information regarding your rights as a victim of the Fatal Four or other types of construction accidents, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC today. You can set up a free case evaluation to learn about the claims process in Virginia. A workers’ compensation attorney can also describe your potential monetary benefits, including amounts to cover your medical bills, wage replacement, and other disability-related losses.

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