Work injuries on the job can come in many forms. From single-accident injuries to toxic exposure to repetitive stress, workers can get hurt in countless ways. Supervisors have a responsibility to provide information, training and protective gear to keep workers safe in even the most dangerous environments. Unfortunately, these precautions might not always work.
While workplace fatalities have dropped significantly over the past few decades, OSHA still reports that an average of 12 work-related fatalities occur in the United States every day. Workplace fatalities tend to fall into one of four categories – what OSHA has termed the “Fatal Four.”
- Falls: Approximately 36.5% of all deaths in the workplace can be attributed to employees falling. This can be a result of working near unprotected sides or holes, improperly constructed walking or working surfaces, falling off a ladder, falling off a scaffolding, or falling off a roof.
- Struck by an object: This category typically includes swinging, falling or misplaced objects. These can include numerous situations such as rigging failure, loose or shifting materials, equipment malfunctions, or being struck by a vehicle.
- Electrocutions: Electrocution risks are abundant on a construction worksite or in a factory setting. These risks can include exposed wiring, wet conditions and the improper labeling of energized panels. Additionally, poorly maintained wiring, extension cords and power tools can lead to death.
- Caught-in or caught-between: Unfortunately, crush injuries are common in manual labor and heavy industry worksites. Being crushed by two moving machines or struck by huge rotating parts accounts for approximately 2.5% of the recorded workplace deaths. This category also includes construction trench collapses and collapsing structures.
While workplace fatalities are not as common as injuries, employees must always remain aware of the danger that surrounds them. Every job, no matter the industry, carries a certain amount of danger. Even a relatively straightforward career in an office setting includes the risk of toxic exposure to hazardous cleaning chemicals and soft-tissue damage due to repetitive motions. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your rights and benefits.