What are OSHA's big four construction hazards?

Learn about OSHA's big four construction hazards. Find out more about each one and how to avoid them and prevent accidents.

The construction industry is filled with danger. It just comes as part of the job. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has identified the four main hazards in this industry to allow it to publish information to help workers and employers make construction worksites safer. These hazards are being caught in or between something, electrocutions, falls and being stuck by something. Through understanding these top four dangers, accidents can be prevented and avoided.

Defining the big four

The big four hazards make up many Workers' Compensation claims. It is in everyone's best interests to identify and understand these risks, along with learning how to prevent them. The key to avoiding further accidents is knowing how to stop them from ever happening.

Biz Journals explains caught in or between hazards often involve machines. Moving machine parts can catch a worker and lead to injuries or death. Loose clothing, hair and jewelry increase the risks of such injuries. Times when risks are the greatest include during machine cleaning and setup, during maintenance, when making adjustments and when clearing jams.

Electrocutions are obviously an issue when working around any live wires or electrical components. Making contact with a live wire is a common accident. Problems can be avoided through using guards, protective devices, insulation and following safety guidelines for working around electricity.

Falls occur most often when workers are working at heights. Protective gear should always be used and worn. It is important for employers to follow all OSHA requirements for fall protection. Workers should be vigilant when working at heights and ensure all equipment in is good condition, especially ladders and other climbing tools.

Struck by accidents can occur when someone is operating a machine or piece of equipment and not paying attention. It can also occur when workers do not observe boundaries around machines and equipment that move. Only trained employees should use equipment and machines, and all OSHA regulations for aisles and passageways should be adhered to.

Prevention tips

OSHA offers some further information for preventing accidents involving each of the big four hazards. Caught in or between injuries may also occur from being stuck in a trench. This type of injury can often be prevented through using protective systems and preparation processes when working in trenches.

Electrocutions can be avoided by always knowing where electric lines are located at all times on a worksite. Safe distance requirements should be taught to all employees. Tools should not be used when they are not properly grounded.

Fall prevention is key to stopping this risk. Personal fall arrest equipment must be used at all times. Any possible fall risks, such as openings and edges need to be properly covered or have barriers installed around them. Scaffolding should be set up securely and properly and tested for safety.

Struck by accidents can often be prevented by having workers wear brightly colored clothing. Employees should also be taught proper boundary restrictions around moving equipment or machines.

When workers are hurt on the job due to a big four hazard, it is unfortunate, but these hazards are largely preventable. If you have been a victim of an accident at work, please contact Silverman, Silverman & Seligman, P.C.