What Are The Fatal Four in Construction

It may sound like the title of a superhero movie, but in reality the Fatal Four are more a villain than a hero. OSHA recently launched a campaign to highlight and bring awareness to what they call the Fatal Four – that is, the four hazards that together accounted for over 60 percent of all construction industry deaths in 2016. Those hazards are:

  1. Electrocution
  2. Falls
  3. Struck-by
  4. Caught-in or Caught-between

So what should employers know about these four hazards?


Stonehouse Signs Lockout Tag Danger Electrician Lock-Out OSHAWorking outdoors with power tools, working near power lines, working near live wires and circuits – due to the nature of the work, construction industry workers are at high risk for electrocution. However, that doesn’t mean electrocution can’t be prevented through safety measures.

To help prevent Electrocution, OSHA recommends employers focus on the following safety items:

  • Identify utilities prior to starting work, and use proper lockout/tagout procedures if required.
  • Be aware of overhead power lines, and maintain a safe distance.
  • Be sure to use grounding and double insulation with electric tools.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Identify and avoid if possible electric hazards when using ladders, scaffolds and other platforms.


Stonehouse Signs Ladder Safety SignOSHA has reported that falls were responsible for almost 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry in 2014 (as well as 20 percent of all workplace fatalities in all industries.) They also recommend construction sites host a Fall Safety Stand-Down each May at the start of the summer construction season to highlight this oft-cited safety concern. Yet despite awareness efforts, fall protection has been OSHA’s most cited standard for years, including most recently in 2017

To help prevent Falls, OSHA recommends employers focus on the following safety items:

  • Safe use of ladders and scaffolds
  • Proper use of personal fall arrest equipment.
  • Cover/secure floor openings and label floor opening covers.
  • Install and maintain perimeter protection to OSHA standards.


Stonehouse Signs Watch For Lift Trucks SignStruck-by injuries occur when workers are struck by an object or equipment – most often by flying objects, falling objects, swinging objects or rolling objects. It is similar to Caught-in/Caught-between, but except that in Struck-by injuries, the injury is caused by the impact of the strike alone. And like Electrocution, due to the nature of construction work, with objects and equipment being moved often, this is a definite safety hazard for construction industry workers.

To help prevent Struck-by, OSHA recommends employers focus on the following safety items:

  • Wear high visibility clothing/PPE near equipment and vehicles.
  • Don’t work or stand near moving objects or equipment, keep a safe distance.

Caught-In or Caught-Between

Stonehouse Signs No Loose Gloves or Clothing When Using Equipment SignSimilar to Struck-by injuries, Caught-in/Caught-between injuries are often caused by objects and equipment. However they differ from Struck-by injuries in one key way – the worker injury/fatality is caused by crushing instead of an impact, such as being caught between a truck and a wall. Caught-in/Caught-between injuries can also be caused by trenching cave-ins or being caught in machinery (body or clothing being pulled in.)

To help prevent Caught-in/Caught-between, OSHA recommends employers focus on the following safety items:

  • Same as Struck-by, wear high visibility clothing near equipment and vehicles, and keep a safe distance from moving objects and equipment.
  • Follow OSHA trenching/excavation safety requirements, including wearing protective systems and using trench protection systems.
  • Follow OSHA machine guarding requirements

This May, ensure your summer construction season is the safest one yet by educating workers on safety topics such as the OSHA Fatal Four. And to help reinforce your safety message, if you need Construction Safety Signs, contact Stonehouse Signs today. You can also visit our other articles on construction industry news and our Construction Sign resources:

Since its founding in 1863, Stonehouse Signs has produced high-quality visual communications solutions for various industries and the government. The company specializes in custom products for safety, information and accident prevention, and manufactures a full line of safety signs and facility signssafety tags, vinyl safety decals, and custom magnetic whiteboards designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments and demanding applications. For more information contact Stonehouse Signs today.

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