Highway Work Hazards April 17, 2018
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2015, more than 96,000 crashes happened in work zones across the country. Construction workers who work on roadways face these dangers on a daily basis and are at risk for serious injury or death. Currently there are many national efforts to make highway work zones safer places for everybody, but there’s still room left for improvement.
According to the Federal Highway Administration or FHA, an average of 100-200 highway workers die in work zone crashes every year. In some of these instances the individuals could’ve been more protected and as a result, lives could have been saved. Because highway work is known for being especially hazardous, it’s essential that federal and statewide agencies, lawmakers and employers work together to put comprehensive safety programs in place.
Highway workers are exposed to numerous dangers throughout the scope of their employment. Some of these hazards include heavy work equipment and machinery, coming into contact with automobiles, trucks and buses (commonly referred to as “transportation incidents”), slips, trips, and falls, overexertion, and exposure to dangerous chemicals, environments and/or substances. When it comes to fatalities, statistics show that the most common causes are:
- Collisions between vehicles and/or mobile equipment;
- Getting caught in between or struck by construction equipment and/or object(s), and:
- Vehicle run-overs and back-overs
Out of all the fatal scenarios, highway workers are most often killed when a motor vehicle runs or backs into them. These run-over and back-over accidents account for as much as 48% of all annual highway worker deaths. To inhibit these serious and lethal dangers, precautions have to be taken. Some of the most effective ways to protect workers is to:
- Ensure that workers are visible and that employers are following federal visibility standards;
- Put temporary traffic controls (e.g. flagging, signs, cones, etc.) in place;
- Provide job-specific safety, health and hazard training for workers – as well as ensuring compliance with the NHTSA’s Highway Construction Standard;
- Maintain awareness campaigns that target drivers, and:
- Promote vigilance with ticketing and penalty enforcement (such as for speeding in a work zone and other violations)
You can read more about what steps employers and workers can take by visiting: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/workersafety/index.htm#tr.
Allentown Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Construction Workers Injured in Highway Accidents
If you’re a construction worker who was injured while working on a highway, please contact our Allentown Workers’ Compensation lawyers. Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.