Construction workers in road/highway work zones are at a significant risk of fatal and nonfatal injury. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, in 2017, 132 construction workers died in work zone related accidents in the Unites States. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2016 there were 158,000 non-fatal work zone injuries in the Unites States.
Construction workers are at an equal risk of injury and death both from passing motorists and from construction vehicles and equipment operating within the road/highway work zone. Furthermore, workers operating construction equipment in work zones are also at a risk of injury and death from the overturn of equipment, equipment collisions, or being caught in between equipment.
Both construction workers and passing motorists can take steps to ensure construction worker safety in road/highway work zones. Construction workers can take the following measures to reduce their risk of injury or death: 1) Use temporary traffic control devices and communicate clearly with motorists; 2) Illuminate the work zone during evening and night hours; 3) Wear high-visibility and reflective apparel to increase worker visibility; 4) Participate in safety training in order to be aware of common hazards and prevention measures.
Although driving through a work zone can be frustrating for passing motorists, construction workers are working to improve the roadways and make future drives better for motorists. Despite frustrations, it is important that passing motorists take the following measures for the safety of construction workers in road/highway work zones: 1) Follow instructions of flaggers and signs posted in work zones that are there to help direct the flow and direction of motorists; 2) Leave extra space between their car and the vehicle in front of them to allow their vehicle to come to a sudden stop safely; 3) Obey the speed limit. Drivers should obey the posted speed limits not only to prevent injury or death, but also drivers could face double fines if speeding within work zones; 4) Eliminate distraction, such as talking on their cell phone or eating, because it is crucial to worker safety that drivers be aware of any changing road patterns; 5) Merge early when they first observe the posted signs rather than waiting until the final moment; 6) Never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In the event that you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a highway/road work zone accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights. The pursuit of a personal injury action may provide you with damages not available under workers’ compensation law. The construction company operating the site, a negligent driver or other party could be held responsible for the injury or death of you or your loved one. The experienced construction injury lawyers at Kraft Davies Olsson are available to consult with you regarding your entitlement to damages or compensation. Please call us at (206) 624-8844 or contact us through this website.