According to OSHA, there are four types of incidents that together added up to more than half of all construction worker deaths in 2015. All of these hazards can be found on common job sites, and they can be avoided if you learn how to recognize and prevent them. And, if it’s something that you or others might come across (or perhaps you already have), reporting the hazard is key.
Anytime you work at a height of four feet or more, you could be at risk of injury by falling after losing your balance or not having the proper bodily support. If using a ladder, make sure you're following ladder safety protocols by ensuring three points of contact. For other scenarios when you need a fall arrest system, use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), which consists of a body harness, an anchorage point, and a connector such as a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a suitable combination of these.
Flying, falling, and sliding objects can strike and injure a worker. Wearing a hard hat can provide some protection, but more specific tips include not working below elevated objects and properly securing objects on higher levels. You can also make sure toe boards are erected, and screens, guardrail systems, or canopy structures are in place.
Always check equipment labels and certifications to avoid being exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Failing to follow OSHA procedures for lockout tag out can easily lead to serious injury or fatality. Additionally, you should always know the exact location of both underground and overhead utilities.
Being trapped or buried in unprotected trenches is a nightmare that, unfortunately, occurs too often. You should never work in an unprotected trench that is 5-feet deep or more, and you should make sure the sloping is at the correct angle. Trench boxes don't prevent cave-ins, but they will protect you if one were to happen.
Other types of caught-in/between incidents involve being pinned between moving materials and working with unguarded moving parts. To avoid these types of accidents, never remove a safety guard or place yourself between moving materials. Additionally, you should never wear jewelry and should avoid wearing loose clothing.