June Is National Safety Month: A Great Time To Focus On The Fatal Four

Although June is National Safety Month, safety should be a year-round endeavor. To achieve this, focusing on the most prevanent safety hazards - otherwise known as the "Focus Four" or "Fatal Four" will go a long way in decreasing overall deaths/injuries from accidents in construction. The four most common hazards: Electrocution, Fall, Struck By and Caught-In-Between can be prevented using the following guidelines:

Electrocution Hazards

  • Use specialized PPE designed to prevent electrical shock - including rubber gloves, nonconductive hard hats and other specialty items to prevent hazards
  • Inspect extension cords and tools before every use to be sure the insulation is intact to prevent electrical injury
  • Eliminate ground fault electric shock hazards by using either a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) or an assured equipment grounding conductor program
  • Use a lockout/tagout system to prevent accidental energization of equipment
  • When working on power lines, use only wood or fiberglass ladder and be sure to contact the local utility company before digging to ensure there is no contact with buried power lines

Fall Hazards

  • Be sure to have the proper equipment to execute the task safely. (i.e. fall protection for a job at heights, etc.)
  • Have comprehensive training on the proper usage of safety equipment
  • When erecting scaffolding ensure proper construction methods are met
  • Ensure proper use of ladders and inspect ladders prior to each use
  • Have a competent person inspect PPE daily and execute worksite equipment maintenance on a regular basis

 Struck-By Hazards

  • Inspect vehicles and equipment prior to using to ensure everything is in safe operating condition
  • Be alert to, and avoid positioning yourself between moving and fixed objects
  • Look for lifted or suspended loads on the job site and stay clear of areas as this can be hazardous.
  • Be sure audible "reverse" alarms are operable on vehicles and do not drive in reverse gear with an obstructed view unless another worker is present to verify that the area is clear.

Caught-In-Between Hazards

  • When working with machinery, ensure that all guards and safety devices are in working order.
  • Ensure that machinery is properly secured and stable throughout the work process.
  • Be sure trenches deeper than 5 feet have a protection system unless the excavation is comprised completely of stable rock.
  • Enter trenching/excavation areas only after it is inspected for safety by a competent person.