Highway construction workers face various job hazards, including heavy equipment and unsafe drivers who are distracted or speeding through work zones. Each year, approximately 100 highway construction workers are killed and 20,000 are injured in highway construction accidents, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). If a highway worker is suffering from a work injury, he or she may need an attorney to help collect the maximum amount of benefits available.
What Hazards are in Highway Work Zones?
Those who work on highway infrastructures are at risk of traffic collisions due to the close proximity to passing motorists. However, according to the NIOSH, the majority of fatalities that occur in work zones are caused by construction vehicles and equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from 2013 to 2017, 91 workers suffered from fatal injuries at road construction sites in Pennsylvania, this number is the fourth highest amount in the U.S.
During that same 15-year span, the following occupations accounted for 67 percent of work zone fatalities:
- Construction laborers
- Heavy and tractor trailer drivers
- Construction equipment operators
- First-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers
- Highway maintenance workers
Both the NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are dedicated to reducing the number of work zone accidents and keeping highway construction workers safe.
A NIOSH study reveals that runovers, back-overs, and caught-in or between accidents are some common causes of highway construction worker fatalities. According to the OSHA, the most common types of accidents that occur in highway work zones are falls, electrical, struck-by, and caught in-between accidents.
How Can Employers Help Highway Construction Workers Stay Safety?
Many accidents in this industry occur due to lack of training. Advancements in technology have changed the way employers disseminate safety information and improved the management of risks associated with the industry. For example, online training programs allow employees, managers, superintendents, and foremen to connect, access safety information, and give feedback in a central location; this helps reduce the number of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities.
Some other ways to safeguard highway construction workers include the following:
- Creating and implementing an internal traffic control plan that pertains to when drivers are first alerted to the upcoming work zone, transition areas, such as merges and lane closures, construction activity areas, and the areas just past the construction work zone.
- Requesting local law enforcement assistance with blocking off the work zone and alerting oncoming drivers.
- Ensuring crews wear high visibility clothing.
- Following guidelines implemented by the Federal Highway Administration for work zone signs, barricades, and flagging.
- Limiting employees’ cellphone usage.
- Designating a separate area from the worksite for material storage and parking to minimize traffic through the work zone.
- Training crews on how to safely operate equipment and vehicles, as well as how to avoid injuries.
- Illuminating the work zone adequately.
- Only allowing trained and authorized workers to operate equipment.
- Complying with industry lockout/tagout procedures.
Should I Speak to a Lawyer if I am an Injured Highway Worker?
If a highway worker is injured on the job, he or she must seek medical attention. After receiving necessary medical care, an injured worker should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. A lawyer will evaluate the worker’s case and will protect the worker’s rights to compensation.
Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Advocate for Injured Highway Construction Workers
Highway construction is hazardous for workers. If you are an injured highway worker, talk to one of our Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. Our lawyers help injured workers obtain the compensation that they deserve. We understand that injured workers need financial recovery to focus on healing. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.