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OSHA Turns Its Attention to the “Focus Four” Hazards

Posted by EHS Insight Staff on April 16, 2018 at 11:03 AM

Every so often, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will re-energize its Focus Four campaign. This national effort is intended to raise awareness of some of the most serious hazards in the construction industry. The Focus Four hazards are also sometimes known as the Fatal Four.

That’s because OSHA has identified them as the four leading causes of fatalities. The agency wants employers to fully recognize and understand those hazards, in order to prevent future incidents from occurring.

The four leading hazards in the construction industry are categorized by OSHA as:

  1. Falls
  2. Caught in or Between
  3. Struck By
  4. Electrocution

According to data pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Fatal Four were responsible for 64 percent of all fatalities in the construction industry in 2016.

OSHA states that up to 90 percent of all fatalities from that same year could have been classified under the Fatal Four.

“Falls” accounted for 384 deaths (38.7%), followed by “struck by” at 93 deaths (9.4%), “electrocution” at 82 deaths (8.3%), and “caught in” with 72 deaths (7.3%).

OSHA announced its plans to re-energize its Focus Four campaign earlier this year. Their intent is to help employers recognize, evaluate, and control these hazards. The effort began in March and will run through June of 2018.

This campaign is aimed at those working in the Region 3 locations. The OSHA Authorized Training Organizations in these areas are the Mid Atlantic OSHA Education Center (Consortium) and the National Resource Center (Consortium).

The goal of these organizations is to help OSHA with its outreach efforts, by carrying out safety and health training to companies and their employees.

Even though the campaign is focused on Region 3, employers across the country are encouraged to participate. Monthly toolbox talks are highly recommended. Employers can choose topics related to one of the Focus Four hazards.

Additional safety training should also be provided during this time period.

OSHA has some great resources for employers. They’ve put together training slides that they can present to their employees on these specific hazards. Visit their website to check out these useful training guides.

To give you a better understanding of the Focus Four hazards, here is a summary of some of the common ways that workers are injured or killed by these hazards.

Falls

  • Falls on the same level
  • Falls from heights
  • Unprotected sides, edges and holes
  • Failure to wear and use personal fall arrest systems
  • Failure to properly use personal fall arrest systems 
  • Slips and trips

Struck by

  • Falling objects—rigging failure; loose or shifting materials; equipment tip over or malfunction; lack of overhead protection
  • Vehicle and equipment strikes
  • Struck by flying objects 

Caught in/Caught between 

  • Caught in or compressed by equipment of objects
  • Trench/excavation collapse 
  • Rotating equipment
  • Unguarded parts
  • Collapsing structures or materials

Electrocution 

  • Contact with overhead power lines
  • Contact with live circuits in panels 
  • Poorly maintained cords and tools 
  • Lack of AR and FR rated clothing
  • Improper use of AR and FR rated clothing

How can you help protect your employees from these hazards? Train and educate them on how these incidents occur. Then, provide them with the proper tools and equipment needed to keep them safe.

For information on OSHA reporting, read OSHA Form 300A and Electronic Reporting Update.  

Topics: OSHA, Compliance, Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Management, Building Materials & Construction

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