59 Workers Killed Highlight Roadway Construction Dangers
Hard hats and reflective vests don’t hide the desire of roadway construction workers to get home safely to their families like everyone else.
But in 2017 in the United States, 59 construction workers were killed by cars while performing their job duties, according to the National Safety Council.
The construction worker roadway accident risk is highlighted by the summer increase of traffic, making construction-zone workers’ jobs even more dangerous. That’s the case as construction worker continually tops lists of most dangerous jobs in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. The council is a nonprofit that works to eliminate preventable deaths.
Preventable deaths are defined as premature deaths that could have been avoided, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The construction industry has the highest rate of preventable fatal work injuries. In 2017, the industry’s 924 deaths deemed preventable accounted for nearly 21 percent of the total number of these kinds of deaths -- 4,414 in the U.S., according to a National Safety Council analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.
Next highest were transportation and warehousing at 819, or nearly 19 percent of the total, and agriculture at 557, or nearly 13 percent of the total.
The dangers in the construction industry in 2017 included 310,000 medically consulted injuries. That’s nearly 7 percent of the total of 4.5 million such injuries.
Construction workers account for 19 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes. That means one out of every five pedestrians killed in car crashes worked in the construction industry.
Summer Construction Distraction
The increase in summertime construction zones creates a potentially deadly combination, but drivers can help by paying extra attention when behind the wheel.
Drivers who let themselves get distracted are part of the problem in the construction worker roadway accident risk. Using phones, adjusting the radio or diverting attention from the road to stare at construction sites themselves or emergency responder scenes can lead to crashes, injuries and deaths.
A National Safety Council survey found over one in ten drivers said they have struck or nearly struck a first responder or emergency vehicle. Construction workers face the same high risk when it comes to roadside crashes caused by distracted drivers.
The survey on driver distraction around emergency vehicles consisted of 2,001 questionnaires completed between Jan. 22 and Feb. 2, 2019 by U.S. residents 21 or older who have unrestricted drivers licenses.
Work Zone Safety Tips
Here are steps that companies can take to avoid construction worker roadway accident risks, according to construct connect, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based construction industry information website:
- Have a plan to protect workers by conducting traffic around or through the work zone
- Control traffic with steps that include posting signs to warn drivers about upcoming changes in road conditions, a transition area for lane closures and a sign saying the work zone has ended
- To avoid accidents, use cones, barrels and barriers to delineate areas of the work zone such as material storage, where heavy equipment is being used and safe areas in which workers on foot can move around
- Roadway construction workers should wear safety gear like hard hats, steel-toed boots, highly visible clothing and, depending on noise levels, hearing protection
- Begin each workday with a safety meeting.
Contact Giampa Law Trial Attorneys today for help with construction worker roadway accident risk cases and other cases involving construction, car and pedestrian accidents.