OSHA and The Fatal Four Hazards: What Your Family Should Know
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is charged with monitoring workplace safety in the U.S. Their mission is to assure the health and safety of the country’s workers by setting standards that are enforced by certain rules and regulations. Despite their best efforts, it is estimated that, daily, at least 13 people routinely go to work, never to return home. It is estimated that almost 4 million people suffer a workplace injury each year, many of whom never recover.
Construction Industry Fatal Four
According to OSHA statistics, the highest levels of injury relate to construction jobs, which contribute to almost 20 percent of the over 4,000 worker fatalities each year. In fact, OSHA has designated 4 top injuries that regularly result in fatalities. Known as the Fatal Four, these accidents include:
1. Falls, which comprise 251 out of 721 deaths, or 35 percent of all construction deaths.
2. Struck by Object, which include 10 percent of all construction deaths, or around 73 deaths annually.
3. Electrocutions, which amount to 9 percent, or around 67 construction deaths each year.
4. Caught in/between accidents that comprise 3 percent, or 19 construction deaths annually.
The above Fatal Four accidents are responsible for almost three out of every five deaths for construction workers. That amounts to nearly 60 percent of all worker deaths according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accordingly, absent the Fatal Four, the lives of around 410 workers could be saved in America each year.
Repercussions for Families
Not only do fatal accidents mean the end of a worker’s life, but the impact upon the victims’ families and loved ones is devastating. In addition to losing their loved ones, families are often left to support themselves in the absence of the main breadwinner. What this can do to any family is create financial burdens that can never be recovered. This is why the family of any worker who is killed as a result of a workplace accident should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. It’s necessary in order to ensure that medical bills and living expense losses that occur as a result of their loved one’s death are covered.
Anyone who suspects that a workplace is unsafe for any reason should have the matter investigated. Also, if someone dies as the result of a workplace situation, OSHA or a similar state agency generally conducts an investigation to determine the cause of death. One aspect to watch for is if the employer has or has not posted the OSHA form 100 on a company bulletin board to inform all workers of their rights. If it is not present, this could be a violation that contributed to an unsafe work condition which was not reported.
Protecting the Family
If you have suffered an illness or injury as a result of a workplace situation, you should first ensure that adequate medical care is attained. All of the particulars including time, place, form and event, as well as whom the incident was reported to, needs to be recorded. Whether you ask a Los Angeles or a North Carolina workers compensation lawyer, they will agree that every detail should be included so that the claim may be handled correctly.
For instance, families of loved ones who become incapacitated or die will need all of this information to present to legal counsel. This is the only way that workers and their families can be assured that they will receive all of the compensation they are entitled to, including the replacement cost of future income.
The fact is, most all workplace injuries and deaths are actually preventable. However, these tragedies continue to disable workers, devastate families and damage the economy. This is why it is so important for workers and their families to understand what their rights are. They are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace at all times. When the situation is otherwise, tragedy strikes easily. Therefore, seeking the advice of a qualified lawyer is critical in order to recover some of the financial devastation that families experience when a loved one is killed due to a workplace accident.
Nadine Swayne, a former television journalist, is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Communications. Being raised in the metropolitan areas of NYC/NJ helped to cultivate her interest in the arts, health, media and social communities.
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