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The “Fatal Four” Construction Site Hazards

Wagner Reese

cranes on a construction siteEvery year in the United States, roughly 1,000 construction workers suffer from fatal workplace accidents. The majority of these accidents fall into what OSHA calls the “fatal four.” To help workers and their families recognize and prevent these accidents, we’ve put together this explanation of the “fatal four” construction site hazards.


Falls are the single largest cause of construction site fatalities. Although the rate has decreased over the past few decades, in 2018 roughly 4-in-10 construction fatalities were the direct result of a severe fall. These are almost entirely preventable with the proper use of safety harnesses and anchoring.

Struck By Object

About 1-in-10 workplace fatalities occur when an object strikes a worker. While strikes are always serious, the severity of these blows can be reduced with proper safety gear and equipment handling. Blows to the head are especially devastating, emphasizing the necessity of keeping hardhats on at all times.


Over 100 construction workers and electrical engineers suffer fatalities by electrocution each year. These are usually caused by overloaded circuits, a lack of grounding, or from working on active lines. Any worker installing electrical lines should use a voltmeter to ensure that there’s no energy in the lines before they start working.

Caught In/Between

A small number, around 2%, of fatal accidents occur when workers are caught in or between machinery. There are many causes to these, but they all share something in common. The worker was caught in active machinery. These accidents are a sad reminder of the need to turn equipment off before performing maintenance. These fatalities are almost entirely preventable when supervisors and workers follow best practices and OSHA safety guidelines.

If you or someone you love were injured in a construction site accident, we can help. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Indianapolis attorney from Wagner Reese to evaluate your case, please call us at (888) 204-8440.


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