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What are the 'fatal four' causes of construction worker deaths?


Chicago's roads, bridges and buildings are all built and maintained by the hard work of construction workers. However, it may not come as a surprise that construction work can be dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified what it calls the "fatal four" causes of construction worker fatalities.


In 2013, of the 4,101 worker deaths that year, just over 20 percent took place in the construction industry. OSHA has identified four main causes of fatal construction accidents. In fact, approximately 57 percent of construction worker fatalities fell under the umbrella of the "fatal four."

The four main causes of construction worker fatalities include falls, being hit by an object, being electrocuted and being trapped between objects. 36.5 percent of construction worker fatalities were due to falls from heights. Just over 10 percent of construction worker fatalities were due to being hit by an object. 8.6 percent of construction worker fatalities were due to being electrocuted. Finally, 2.5 percent of construction worker fatalities were due to being trapped between objects.

It is estimated that preventing the "fatal four" construction accidents from occurring could save as many as 478 workers' lives annually. Ultimately, it is up to employers to ensure that their worksites are safe and their workers have the proper protections needed to safely do their jobs. If a construction worker is killed due to an Illinois construction site injury, his or her loved ones may incur many financial losses related to funeral expenses, the loss of the income the worker provided and the loss of companionship. Therefore, they may want to determine what legal remedies they may have in such situations.

Source: osha.gov, "Commonly Used Statistics," accessed Sept. 13, 2015

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