OSHA’s Focus Four Initiative Sees Positive ChangesJanuary 24, 2019
One of the most dangerous industries in the United States is construction. Construction-related inspections account for 60 percent of all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections.
In 2009, nearly one in five work-related fatalities occurred within the construction industry, while private industry construction fatalities accounted for almost three times that of all workers nationally.
The Focus Four Hazard Campaign
Due to the prevalence of fatal injuries that occur in construction, OSHA launched an initiative, the Focus Four Hazards campaign, for the purpose of raising awareness about the four leading causes of these catastrophic outcomes, frequently called the “Fatal Four.”
The Fatal Four are:
- Caught-in or between accidents
- Struck-by accidents
- Electrocution accidents
Top Hazards of Fatalities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2016 these four hazards accounted for 64 percent of all fatalities in the construction industry, while OSHA pegged that number as 90 percent.
Not including highway collisions, falls led the four hazards, accounting for 38.7 percent, followed by struck by-objects accounting for 9.4 percent, electrocutions at 8.3 percent, and caught-in/between accidents at 7.3 percent.
Those caught-in/between accidents include fatalities occurring from workers being caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, as well as those killed due to being caught, stuck, or crushed within collapsing equipment, materials, or structures.
Six-hundred and thirty-one U.S. workers annually would be saved by eliminating these four fatal hazards.
OSHA Creates Lesson Plans
OSHA has done a good job of explaining these hazards, first by sharing specific conditions within each of the hazards. It has created a lesson plan for each of these four hazards, which contain specific learning objectives. Trainers are then required to use these learning objectives when planning their employees’ training.
OSHA’s Efforts Paying Off
As it turns out, these efforts have in fact made a difference. In more than 40 years, OSHA and its state partners, employers, safety and health professionals, advocates, and unions have now seen worker fatalities in the United States decrease, on average from approximately 38 deaths per day in 1970, to 14 deaths per day in 2016.
Additionally, worker illnesses and injuries have also decreased, from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1970 to only 2.9 per 100 workers in 2016.
Though OSHA will continue its mission to educate workers until there are no deaths or injuries, it is clear that things have changed for the better.
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