The “Fatal Four” Construction Hazards

Construction sites are inherently hazardous and construction workers face a high risk of sustaining on-the-job injuries. However, there are four types of hazards that contribute to the majority of fatalities in the construction industry. These four hazards are often referred to as the construction “fatal four” or “focus four”. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identifies falls, caught-in or -between, struck by, and electrocution, as the “Construction Focus Four.”


According to OSHA statistics, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. In 2020, falls to a lower level accounted for 351 of the 1,008 fatalities reported in the construction industry. OSHA has safety guidelines for fall prevention on construction sites. Construction companies must provide a safe work environment for their workers including training, and installing the proper equipment. Guard rails and safety net systems, as well as personal fall arrest systems like full-body harnesses must be set up to conform with OSHA’s regulations.

Struck-by incidents

Construction sites are full of heavy moving equipment that can cause fatal injury to workers on site. Workers can suffer serious injury or death from falling debris, collision with a heavy object, or improper use of nail guns. Workers must be properly trained to recognize struck-by hazards on the construction site. They must also be provided with safety equipment such as helmets, goggles, and reflective clothing to protect against potential struck-by hazards.


The risk of electrocutions on construction sites is very high. Electrocutions can be caused by faulty wiring, improper use of cords, improper grounding of electrical systems, or wet conditions around electric wires. Electrocutions can result in shock, falls, severe burns, or death. One of the ways that electrocutions can be avoided is by using properly-rated cords, using testing meters, inspecting all electrical equipment before use, and taking damaged equipment out of service.

Caught-in or -Between

Caught-in or -between incidents are similar to struck-by incidents. The difference between the two is that in struck-by incidents, the object alone causes the victim’s injury or death. Whereas, in caught-in/-between incidents, the victim’s injury or death is the result of being crushed between two objects. According to OSHA, caught-in/-between hazards are injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched, or compressed between two or more objects, or between parts of an object. Situations where this could occur include where a person is caught or crushed in operating equipment, or between a moving and stationary object.

Preventing the Construction Fatal Four

OSHA provides detailed training materials to ensure that every construction company is aware of the construction fatal four and understands how to reduce the risk of injury or deaths caused by these hazards. Construction companies have a duty to provide training and equipment for the safety of their workers. When their failure to comply with their duty to their workers results in death, they can be held liable.

Contact a Washington Construction Accident Attorney

If you have lost a loved one to one of the “fatal four”, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the death of your loved one. NW Injury Law Center can help you understand your legal rights and entitlements in Washington.

We offer free consultations and take cases on a contingency fee basis. To get more information about your legal options, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at NW Injury Law Center. Call us today at 360-695-1624 to schedule your free consultation.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment