Construction employees and employers in Pennsylvania are probably already aware of the “fatal four” hazards in their industry. For others who are interested, they are: falls, electrocution, caught-in-between incidents and struck-by incidents. Minimizing these is essential because the construction industry is among the most hazardous in the U.S. One in five worker fatalities in 2016 were on construction sites, according to OSHA.
The same organization has set up the Focus Four Hazards campaign to improve communications between employees and safety representatives. This regional campaign, which lasts from March to June, covers Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Each month is an awareness month dedicated to one of the “fatal four” and is punctuated by toolbox talks by OSHA representatives. In addition to these site visits, OSHA provides online materials that employees can access at any time. Many employers are using the content of the toolbox talks, which OSHA regularly updates and refreshes, in their own monthly safety meetings. This gives them the opportunity to talk with employees about workplace safety.
With the formalization of the training and materials provided by the campaign, OSHA is aiming to save lives. Some estimate that at least 600 deaths can be prevented every year. However, there are always employees who will engage in unsafe behavior, especially when it comes to using ladders and scaffolding.
Even when an employer is not to blame for a workplace accident, an employee can still be covered for their injuries and a portion of lost income. By filing a workers’ compensation claim, one waives their right to sue their employer in the future for the same incident. Therefore, it’s important to have access to a lawyer who can mount an appeal if the claim is denied.