We believe that 100% of construction site accidents are avoidable, and understanding the causes of common workplace casualties is a good start to preventing injury and harm in the workplace.
The 4 most common causes of workplace fatalities:
- 1. Fall from Heights – 39.2%
- 2. Struck by Objects – 8.2%
- 3. Electrocution – 7.3%
- 4. Caught between – 5.1%
IOSHA launched the FOCUS FOUR, a program designed to raise awareness regarding the leading causes of construction site fatalities.
Preventing incidents is more likely when we understand the cause, recognize the hazards, and establish a low risk tolerance. Remember Hazard Recognition does NOT equal Risk Tolerance — one may recognize the hazard but disregard the risk.
Here are are some root-cause factors that commonly result in these four incidents.
Causes of Fall-Related Incidents
- Unprotected sides, edges and holes
- Improperly constructed walking/working Surfaces
- Improper use of access equipment
- Failure to properly use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)
- Slips and trips (housekeeping related incidents)
Causes of Struck-by Incidents
- Falling objects
- Rigging failure
- Loose or shifting materials
- Equipment tip-over or malfunction
- Lack of overhead protection
- Vehicle and equipment strikes
- Backing incidents
- Flying objects
Causes of Electrocution Incidents
- Contact with overhead power lines
- Contact with live circuits
- Not following lock out/tag out (LOTO) procedures
- Poorly maintained extension cords and tools
- Defective power tools
Causes of Caught-in-Between Incidents
- Trench/excavation collapse
- Rotating equipment
- Unguarded parts
- Equipment rollovers
- Equipment maintenance
As you prepare for your next project, we encourage you to consider these violations and the consequences that follow the safety of your workers and your bottom line.