Colorado construction worker dies after beam strikes him

Construction work can be some of the most dangerous. Workers in this industry face numerous hazards as they sometimes scale tall heights, work with electricity, must maneuver around heavy equipment and be on the lookout for falling objects.

A recent workplace tragedy in nearby Fort Collins exemplifies the latter category: construction workers being struck by falling objects. In April, a 25-year-old construction worker died after being struck by a metal beam while working at a school construction site. The beam fell about 18 feet and struck the man, who died later at a nearby hospital.

Nearly 1,000 construction workers died in 2016 in work-related accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Construction deaths accounted for more than 21 percent of all work-related fatalities within the private industry that year.

Fatal Four: falls, struck by object, electrocution, caught-in/between

According to OSHA, four types of accidents accounted for nearly 64 percent of all construction-related fatalities. The group has been described at construction’s “Fatal Four,” and includes being struck by objects. Here is a breakdown of the list:

  • Falls: Accounted for 384 deaths, nearly 39 percent of all construction fatalities. Workers often scale tall heights on ladders and scaffolding to work on new buildings, roofs and other areas.
  • Struck by Object: Accounted for 93 deaths, more than 9 percent of construction fatalities. Construction sites must properly secure loads, and workers must always be alert and aware of their surroundings.
  • Electrocutions: Accounted for 82 deaths, more than 8 percent of all construction fatalities. In May, two workers were fatally electrocuted near Colorado Springs while taking soil samples.
  • Caught-in/between: Accounted for 72 or more than 7 percent of all construction deaths. This category includes workers who may have been caught in or compressed by heavy machinery, vehicles and objects; as well as being caught in a collapsing structure.

Safety training is essential in the construction industry. Companies, managers, supervisors and workers must continue to focus on making sure everyone at construction sites understand how equipment works, the dangers that may occur, and how to prevent potential workplace hazards.

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