Help Protect Your Workers from the ‘Fatal Four’ Construction Hazards

Help Protect Your Workers from the ‘Fatal Four’ Construction Hazards

How to Help Protect Your Workers from the ‘Fatal Four’ Construction Hazards

Construction sites are often dangerous work environments, regardless of whether you work in infrastructure, specialized industrial, institutional or commercial construction. Understanding the different hazards, properly training your employees and providing the right PPE solutions can help protect your workers when and where they need it most.

OSHA defines the four main hazards within the construction industry as the “Fatal Four,” which account for the leading cause of workplace deaths.1 Below you will find more detail on each of the hazards and how to help keep your workers safe.


Falls are the number one cause of worker fatalities in construction. In 2020, 351 of the 1,008 total fatalities in construction were a result of falls.2 Falls can occur when working at heights such as roofs, scaffolding and holes. OSHA states under Subpart M of the construction standards 29 CFR Part 1926 workers in the construction industry should wear fall protection when working 6 feet or more above a lower level. Fall protection in construction is also required when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.3

To help prevent falls, OSHA recommends employers should plan ahead by discussing how the job will be done and what tasks will need to be completed to ensure safety.4 Then, employers should provide the right equipment for the specific tasks and train all workers to learn how to properly use the equipment.4


Construction workers are approximately four times more likely to be electrocuted than workers in all other industries.5 Many construction electrocutions happen when workers encounter live electrical equipment, temporary power and overhead or underground power lines.

While electrical hazards are dangerous, they can be reduced by implementing safe work practices. Workers should use caution around energized lines, de-energize equipment before repairing and wear appropriate PPE.6 Some safety eyewear, hard hats, fall protection, gloves and footwear are designed to help protect the wearer from electrocution by using dielectric PPE products, antistatic and ESD features.

Caught-in or Between

Caught-in or between hazards occur on construction sites when working around machinery that has unguarded moving parts, unprotected excavations or trenches and collapsing walls during demolition. Heavy equipment that tips over, collapsing walls during demolition and working around moving vehicles or equipment can also result in caught-in or between incidents. Injuries usually result from being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched or compressed between two or more objects.7

Employers can help protect workers by ensuring machines are properly guarded and training employees on how to follow lock-out and tag-out procedures.8 Workers also should be aware of how to safely pass moving equipment like cranes or forklifts.8 Proper training and high visibility clothing can help prevent caught-in or between injuries.

Struck-by Incidents

Struck-by injuries are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and the second most common cause of fatalities among construction workers.9 Struck-by incidents mostly occur when workers are struck by heavy equipment or vehicles and falling or flying objects. Employers can help prevent struck-by incidents by providing training, inspecting equipment before use and providing the right PPE such as safety glasses, hard hats and face shields.

With so many options in the market, finding the right PPE solutions for your specific workplace applications can be challenging. Check out our Construction Safety Solutions [ZC1] to find the right products for all your infrastructure, specialized industrial, institutional and commercial construction needs.


1EHS, https://ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com/2019/05/oshas-fatal-four-leading-causes-of-fatalities-in-the-workplace/

2OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/stop-falls

3OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3146.pdf

4OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/stop-falls

5OSHA, https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2019/02/08/electrocution-in-construction/

6OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/electrical

7OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/caught_iorb_ig.pdf

8OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/osha3170.pdf

9CDC, https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/10/01/struck-by-injuries/