What are the Leading Causes of Fatal Work-Related Injuries?

work-related fatal injuries.

Whether you work in retail or agriculture, every occupation comes with its own set of hazards. However, a job in the construction industry is the most dangerous of all. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction accidents were the leading cause of fatal work-related injuries in 2016, with one in five worker deaths occurring in construction.

Falling, being struck by an object, electrocution, and getting caught in between materials or equipment are known as construction’s “Fatal Four.” These accidents are responsible for more than half of all fatal injuries on construction sites, and eliminating them would save more than 600 workers’ lives every year.

While employers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment, it’s important for employees to remain aware of their surroundings and take proper precautions to prevent workplace injuries. Review the leading causes of fatal injuries below to stay safe at work.

Leading Causes of Fatal Injuries on the Job


Roughly 38 percent of total construction deaths occur due to a fall. These accidents include falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and other elevated construction areas. Workers can help prevent fatal falls by alerting a supervisor if they see poorly constructed scaffolds or unsafe ladders.  

Being struck by an object

Struck by an object accidents account for about 9 percent of total construction deaths. Workers may be hit by falling, swinging, flying, or rolling objects, and suffer fatal injuries. Workers can avoid these injuries by keeping clear of heavy equipment when it’s in use nearby and being aware of the swing radius of cranes.


Electrocution accidents, which account for 8 percent of construction deaths, occur when a worker is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. This may happen if a construction worker comes in contact with overhead power lines, damaged tools, or through improper use of extension cords.

Getting caught in between

Workers who become caught between machines, equipment, or tools can suffer serious or fatal injuries. These accidents can be avoided by using safety guards while machines are in use and avoiding wearing loose clothing and jewelry that can become tangled and caught between moving parts.

Has a loved one suffered one of these fatal injuries on the job?

As careful as workers are to avoid fatal injuries, accidents happen. In fact, more than 14 workplace deaths occur in the U.S. every day. While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, it’s important to be aware of the benefits available to surviving family members. By filing a death claim through workers’ compensation, a deceased worker’s dependents are eligible to receive weekly death benefits to make up for the loss of income and financial support. And during this difficult time, every dollar will help you begin to pick up the pieces.

At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation attorneys have more than four decades of collective experience representing injured workers and those who have lost family members due to fatal injuries at work. If you recently lost a loved one to a workplace accident, please call us. We’ll guide you through the legal process and fight hard to ensure you receive the maximum benefits you’re entitled to. Call today at (619) 528-9800.