Every year during the summer months, workers take to the highways to tackle a variety of projects. While most are able to do in a safe and effective manner, others are not as lucky. Instead, they are injured or killed on the job.
According to the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners Alliance, approximately 120 construction workers are killed every year in roadway work zones. Many of these deaths take place during the summer months, as this is when highway construction hits its peak.
There are two types of fatal accidents: those that are internal, such as a worker being hit by a coworker who is operating equipment and those in which a driver hits a worker.
Workers have more control over their own crew, as everybody can remain safe if everybody follows the safety regulations that have been implemented. However, the same does not hold true when it comes to outsiders. There is no way of knowing if a passing vehicle is going to make a decision that puts a worker in harm’s way.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation, have set rules and regulations regarding how work zones are set up. This is meant to decrease the chance of passing traffic injuring a worker.
Even with laws in place, highway worker safety remains a major problem throughout the United States. In addition to the hundreds of workers killed every year, many others are injured. Anybody who works in this capacity should know what to expect on the job and how to improve his or her overall level of safety.
Source: Construction Dive, “Unsafe summer: Highway crew deaths leave industry searching for solutions,” Sharon O’Malley, Aug. 13, 2015