The Construction Industry’s”Fatal Four”


According to a report released in December of 2016 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,379 private industry worker fatalities occurred in the 2015 calendar year.  These industries include jobs in industries such as transportation, farming, fishing, forestry, and truck drivers, among others. Of those injuries, 21.4% were in construction. That’s one in five workers!

The Fatal Four

The “fatal four” in the construction injury represents the four leading causes of fatalities. They are responsible for more than half of the construction worker deaths in 2015. They include:

  1. Falls (38.8%);
  2. Struck by an object (9.6%);
  3. Electrocution (8.6%);
  4. Caught in/between (7.2%) (This includes fatalities due to being caught-in or compressed by equipment or objects, and struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material).

Injuries and fatalities to contract workers are on the rise. Why?

  • Because many contract workers are thrown into dangerous jobs without the health and safety training that a regular employee would get.
  • They may not be fully or properly trained in the use of machinery and equipment.
  • Being unable to identify unsafe or improperly maintained workstations, buildings, or equipment can create risks for those unfamiliar with related hazards.

Other reasons for construction site injuries include:

  • Rush jobs. There may be pressure to finish a job quickly, which may result in forgoing safety protocol in favor of completing the work.
  • Most work accidents occur after lunch indicating that concentration levels are better earlier in the day. It would then make sense to switch to lower risk tasks when brains and bodies are tiring.
  • Unsafe behavior by the worker. Misusing or improperly using equipment, or not wearing appropriate safety gear for example, can lead to injuries.
Top Ten Citations

OSHA sets the standard to which employers and workers need to comply. Sadly, protocol is often ignored. The top ten OSHA standards included in citations are:

  • Scaffolding
  • Fall protection (scope, application, definitions)
  • Excavations (general requirements)
  • Ladders
  • Head protection
  • Excavations (requirements for protective systems)
  • Hazard communication
  • Fall protection (training requirements)
  • Construction (general safety and health provisions)
  • Electrical (wiring methods, design and protection)
Injury Prevention

It’s obvious that the disregard of OSHA standards directly impacts construction workers’ “fatal four” injuries. OSHA has specific advice for preventing construction accidents, but here’s also a few universal safety measures that can also be implemented.

  • Mandatory Daily Safety Meetings. Keep management and workers on the same page where safety is concerned.
  • Safety Gear. Every employee should be trained about safety gear usage – which gear for which task. Safety gear should be a requirement, not a choice. Gear should also be examined routinely to check for damage and wear.
  • High Visibility Clothing. Wearing something like orange vests with reflective material will reduce chances getting hit by vehicles and other machinery.
  • Regular Breaks. Taking breaks will help reduce accidents due to exhaustion.


Construction site injuries can be prevented. Be safe while you’re on the job, whether you’re in a management or labor position. It’s also good to know how you’re covered, if at all. This especially applies to contract workers. You don’t want to get injured on the job, only to discover you have no means to cover medical bills and lost wages.

If you are injured on the job and need advice, give me a call. I’d be happy to discuss your rights with you.

Stay safe on amusement park rides

Amusement park rides are again in the news after three girls fell 30 feet from a Ferris wheel in Greeneville, Tennesseferris wheel ridese.

Apparently a mechanical problem was to blame. Many fairs and carnivals are already in full swing. Our own Western Washington Fair will be upon us within weeks. Visitors should be able to enjoy their time at these fun filled events free from worry. Unfortunately, injuries are suffered on amusement park rides all the time, so not so serious, some fatal.

Most injuries sustained at amusement parks include:
  • Head and neck problems;
  • Injuries to the face, arms and legs and;
  • Soft-tissue injuries — damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Luckily serious and fatal injuries make up a very small percentage according to a study done by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Common causes for these injuries consist of:
  • Falling in, on, off or against a ride.
  • Being hit by something while riding, or hitting body on a ride.
  • Catching a body part or clothing in a ride.
  • Injuries incurred getting off or on a ride.
  • Being struck by a moving or stationary ride.
So how do we keep ourselves and children safe at amusement parks, carnivals and fairs?
  • Always obey ride restrictions. If a person is too short, too young, too heavy or light, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stay off the ride.
  • Follow instructions regarding seating order, loading instructions, etc.
  • Double check safety gear. Ensure straps, belts, bars are in place and latched properly. If not, secure them or if you can’t, get the operators attention.
  • Follow the rules. Stay out of fenced off areas. If something is dropped from a ride, do not attempt to retrieve it, instead, inform the ride operator.
  • Keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times and ensure children do the same.
  • Ride with your child.
  • If a child cannot be trusted to follow the rules for some reason, don’t let them ride.

roller coaster ridesSometimes injuries that occur at amusement parks, etc., are simply accidents, and there is no one to blame. However, many injuries, whether a trip over an electrical cord or a fall from a ride, could be the responsibility of the property owner, ride manufacturer or operator. Those in charge need to keep the property, attractions, and rides properly maintained and safe. Otherwise, they could face a negligence, slip and fall, product liability, or wrongful death lawsuit.

If injured at an amusement park or local fair and you think it’s due to owner, operator, and/or manufacturer negligence of, contact me. I’ve dealt with amusement park rides and have decades of experience with trip and falls, wrongful death, and premises and product liability claims. You may not have a personal injury claim on your hands, but it’s always a good idea to consult a seasoned attorney to discuss your rights.

Consultations are always free. You can reach me by phone (888) 809-9494, email or by filling out my online form.

Keeping the workplace safe

Safety measures at work are vital to keeping employees protected from harm. All workplaces, from small offices to large factories, can be vulnerable to worker injuries. Ensuringhard hat
hazards are cleared promptly, machinery is operating properly, and that workers keep themselves healthy and safe is an ongoing process and the responsibility of all employees, from top level to new hires.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Census:
  • More than 13 workers per day died while doing their jobs.
  • 4,454 of those were men and 367 were women.
  • The majority were between 45 and 64 years old
  • The most affected industries were:
  • Construction, (899 deaths)
  • Transportation and warehousing (766)
  • Agriculture (584)
  • Government (435)
  • Professional and business services (425) and
  • Manufacturing (349)
Most of them, 1,984 died in transportation incidents, followed by:
  • Slips, trips and falls: 818
  • Injuries by people or animals: 765 (409 of these were homicides)
  • Contact with objects and equipment: 715
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments: 390
  • Other events or exposures: 149
How can workplaces stay safe? Here are some ideas:


Preventing trips, slips and falls:
  • Report and/or clean up spills and leaks.Work injury
  • Keep hallways, aisles and exits clear of obstacles.
  • Install mirrors and warning signs to help with blind spots.
  • Replace dilapidated, torn or damaged flooring.
  • Anti-slip flooring is available and could be used in areas that can’t always be cleaned immediately.
  • Don’t be complacent, check work areas for protruding nails, holes or loose boards.
  • Make sure cords, wires, etc., are not out where people could stumble over them. Or cover them with a mat or tape to keep them from being a tripping hazard.
Eradicating fire hazards:
  • Keep combustible materials in a safe storage area unless they are needed for a job. Then only keep amounts needed in the work area.
  • Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition sources.
  • Change clothes if they are contaminated with flammable materials.
  • Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions and stairwell doors closed. Do not use the stairwell for storage.
  • Automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls need at least an 18 inch clearance, thought 24 to 36 inches is recommended. Also, there needs to be a 3 foot clearance between any stacked materials and the ceiling. If stock is piled more than 15 feet high, double the clearance size.
  • Always report hazards in electrical areas and ensure work orders are turned in for repair.
Avoid falling objects:
  • Defenses such as a toe board, net, etc., can help prevent objects from falling and injuring workers.
  • Ensure any stacked materials are straight up and down to keep them from falling or toppling over.
  • Place heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Keep items away from desk and table edges.
  • Don’t stack objects in workers walking paths.
Use safety gear when needed:
  • Know what equipment, tools and gear is essential to stay safe at goggles
  • Ensure knowledge of how to properly put on, adjust, wear, remove and store safety gear.
  • Understand how to properly use equipment and tools.
  • Types of safety gear include, but are not limited to:
    • Eye and ear protection
    • Respirators
    • Head protection
    • Foot and leg protection
  • Do Maintenance checks on tools and equipment regularly.
  • Immediately repair or properly remove any equipment that is broken or damaged.

It’s up to employers and workers alike to maintain a safe workplace. Most workplace injuries and deaths are preventable. Working together and being diligent, responsible and knowledgeable can and will save lives. You can find safety training courses at The National Safety Council. Need more info? The best resource is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.





Injured at a fair or amusement park? Know who to sue.

amusement park rideWhen attending an amusement park, carnival or fair, visitors should expect to have a fun, good time. Sustaining an injury should be the last thing on their mind. With the Washington State Fair in full swing, it’s good to remind attendees about liability regarding injuries that occur on the event or park property.

Sometimes injuries that take place at these locations are simply accidents, and there is no one to blame. However, Six Flags or county fair, whether it’s a trip over an electrical cord or a fall from a ride, the property owner, ride manufacturer or operator might be liable. Those in charge need to keep the property, attractions and rides properly maintained and safe. Otherwise, they could face a negligence, slip and fall, product liability, or wrongful death lawsuit.

The rides at traveling carnivals and fairs are built and taken down regularly, leaving them susceptible to being incorrectly constructed, which can result in injury. The constant set up and break down can also wear on machinery, which could result in malfunctions.

If injured at an amusement park or local fair and you thinks it’s because of the negligence of owners, operators, and/or employees, give me, John Messina, a call. I have decades of experience with trip and falls, wrongful death, and premises and product liability claims. You may not have a personal injury case on your hands, but it’s best to confer with a seasoned attorney to check. I can advise you concerning your rights and potential legal claim.

Consultations are always free. You can reach me by phone (888) 809-9494, email or by filling out my online form.