Unfortunately, many forms of employment still come with the risk of physical injury and/or even death.In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job, accounting for roughly 12 deaths per day, or 88 per week. The construction industry, which is a particularly dangerous realm of employment, accounted for nearly 828 of these deaths. According to the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), a governmental agency responsible for monitoring employee safety standards, there are four top causes of death on construction sites, the “fatal four,” which accounted for more than half of construction worker deaths in 2013.

At Smiley Law, we believe the more our clients know about the potential risks of the trade, the better they can protect themselves and others. Here are the four leading causes of construction-related fatalities that you should be aware of today:


Accounting for 302, or 36.5%, of construction worker deaths in 2013, falls are by far the most common cause of construction-related deaths. Many construction projects require working at great heights, in adverse weather condition, and for long periods of time. Falls commonly occur from floors, roofs, and platforms.

Struck by Object

Accounting for 84, or 10.1%. of construction worker deaths in 2013, struck-by-object (“struck-by”) is the second most common cause of fatality in the construction industry. Most of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment, trucks and/or cranes.One common form of a struck-by hazard is the flying-object, which occurs when something has been thrown, hurled, or is being propelled across space. Additionally, a hazard can exist if an object is ejected under power by machinery and/or equipment.


Accounting for 71, or 8.6%, of construction worker deaths in 2013, electrocution is the next most common cause of construction-related fatalities. Common electrical hazards occur as a result of defective machinery and/or tools, improperly installed outlets and wiring, and overhead power lines.

Caught In or Between

Accounting for 21, or 2.5%, of construction workers’ deaths in 2013, caught in or between is the fourth most common cause of construction-related death. Some of the most common causes of hazards in this category are related to being caught in machinery, caught between two pieces of equipment and/or walls, buried in a trench collapse, and/or buried by collapsed scaffolding.

Now that you are aware of the four most common causes of construction-related deaths, you may be asking yourself what you should do next or if you are injured at a construction site? We recommend consulting an expert about the best ways and methods to avoid future injuries and liability. Here at Smiley Law, we have years of experience in the construction industry. We would be happy to address all your construction safety questions or concerns. We also help companies develop strategy to avoid injuries or what to do when an accident occurs.


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