Within the field of construction, there are four common causes of workplace injury responsible for well over half of all fatalities among construction workers. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates the four most common causes of construction worker fatalities are falls, electrocutions, getting hit by some object, or getting caught in or between objects. Together, these four causes of injury have been dubbed the “Fatal Four” and they accounted for 60.6 percent of construction worker fatalities nationwide in 2014.
Falls, burns, workers getting hit, and workers getting trapped do not just happen. These common causes of work injury occur because of safety lapses and because of failures on the part of employers. Employers should be aware of the “Fatal Four” and should make absolutely certain they are doing everything possible to reduce risks, particularly those most likely to be fatal. Unfortunately, this often does not happen. In fact, part of the reason why so many construction deaths occur due to these four common causes is because employers are not doing nearly enough to prevent hazards that lead to falls, crushed workers, or burned workers.
Just recently, for example, two New York contractors were caught violating safety rules aimed at protecting construction workers from falls or burns. Construction Dive reported on the violations, as well as the OSHA fines that resulted from the lapses.
Both of the contractors who were cited are based in Queens. However, the projects for which the contractors received the citations are located in Manhattan. The citations came from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which fined the companies $117,000.
One of the companies is a construction group that has already been cited for failing to follow safety rules. The construction group was found to have eight repeat and six serious violations, all related to fall hazards and electrical hazards. The fine proposed for the construction company totaled $93,170.
The other company is a steel erection contractor, which OSHA indicated faces 10 serious violations. OSHA has proposed a fine of $24,000 for the steel erection contractor for its failures in connection with electrical hazards and fall hazards.
The fines occurred just a week after a report from Politico revealed a substantial increase in safety violations in New York City. Construction has been booming within the city, and many contractors have begun cutting dangerous corners. In response to companies putting employees in danger on construction sites, the New York City Department of Buildings has been cracking down. It has issued an increased number of stop-work orders in light of the serious ongoing safety problems, which are only getting worse as demand for new construction continues to grow.