Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
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OSHA's Focus Four: don't let them become the Fatal Four

Construction workers always face danger in their jobs. The job of constructing virtually anything is dangerous, as it almost always requires heavy equipment, working in exposed positions, dangerous tools, interaction with electricity and the movement of earth, concrete, steel and rock.

So it is no surprise that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has found that four particular hazards pose a significant risk to construction workers and that training and safety practices should be implemented to protect workers from those risks.

The "Focus Four" dangers are Falls, Caught-In or -Between, Struck-By, and Electrocution. OSHA has developed training to help workers recognize these risk and avoid them. Protecting workers is often a two-part process. They must both recognize the threat and have the equipment and training to minimize the risk.

Fall dangers may be clear. Most workers would recognize that roofing, painting or siding a three-story building presents a risk of a fall. Use of proper techniques and employment of personal fall protection, guardrails and netting require more than simple recognition. 

The employer must have trained individuals on the site supervising the use of such equipment and ensuring all of the workers understand how to use that equipment.

Similarly, workers may recognize the risk of a trench cave-in, but to protect themselves, they must have the support of their employer, with the use of side supports and the commitment to ensure that workers are not allowed in excavations that have not been properly dug and shored to prevent worker engulfments.

Electricity is always very dangerous and must be handled only by properly trained personnel. Additionally, wires underground and above ground must by identified, adequately warned and workers trained of the presence of this danger.

The Caught-In or -Between can be the most difficult, as many situations are transitory. Equipment or tools move into a position and a worker inadvertently finds themselves in-between a vehicle, a load or a tool. When a driver or operator fails to see them, a part fails, or a tool starts up, they can be crushed or killed in an instant.

A strong safety awareness campaign, where everyone from workers, supervisors and managers promote the culture of safety that can protect workers from these tragic accidents and save the company the trauma and expense of workers injuries and deaths.

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Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
110 Second Street
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Hudson, WI 54016

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