In 2015, a work zone crash in the construction workplace took place every 5.4 minutes. Every day, 70 crashes in work zones resulted in an injury, and 12 work zone crashes resulted in a fatality every week. With these statistics showing that these accidents can and do happen, Highway construction is dangerous for everyone involved. It’s dangerous for the motorists who need to drive through these zones through an array of signs and lane changes, and especially dangerous for the workers who build and maintain the streets and work around vehicles traveling from one place to the next. In all of 2003 alone, approximately 1,571 workers lost their lives.
The reason why these zones are so deadly to workers? Construction sites tend to be next to active roadways with drivers passing through at all speeds during the day and night. The issue is that sometimes drivers are not paying attention to everything around them and, because of this negligence, they could miss signs showing that a work zone is approaching fast. There are laws in place that prevent drivers from approaching too quickly, but this does not always mean they will be abided by. Many drivers continue to violate speed limits and end up hitting other vehicles and, most, unfortunately, workers.
OSHA has found that about 20,000 workers are injured each year in highway and construction accidents that take place by the roads. Transportation incidents accounted for 66% of all fatal roadway worksite incidents every year. In many of these cases, a worker is hit by another vehicle. Flaggers run one of the highest risks of being injured in these accidents, as they are signaling drivers to go cautiously through a work zone. They run the risk of being hit by drivers or construction equipment already in the workplace. When it’s dark out or there is fog in the air, flaggers are most likely to not be seen, which can be an altogether dangerous situation for them. And, most construction in roadside work zones tends to take place at night, because there is a steady increase of traffic congestion during the day. Here are some of the ways that workers are protecting themselves in these work zones:
Clothing: Many flaggers and workers will wear high visibility clothing, from armbands to vests that are reflective.
Being Observant: Being aware of all potential hazards and blind spots can put workers in a better position.
Staying Aware: Where vehicles enter and exit the worksite is what workers must be aware of. Always stay aware of traffic coming in and out of a work zone. A flagger should always understand the traffic patterns throughout the day and night.
Communication Signals: Communication signals between workers on foot and those that are operating equipment should be used.
Being Cautious: Be careful when vehicles are approaching, as well as other vehicles on your construction site.
Flaggers are also supposed to keep distance between themselves and other workers to ensure that motorists can pick them out. Having good communication and understanding the ways of the road can help. However, not every accident will be preventable. Accidents happen due to negligence and many other causes. For this reason, it is important to have legal help from an attorney that specializes in these cases. We understand personal injury at Edelstein Martin & Nelson and want to extend a helping hand. Call us today at 888-208-1810 for more information on how we can help you.