The summer road construction season is nearly here. The orange cones lining highways is a sight familiar to many. Drivers will often have to slow down while in the work zone, and may face high fines if they are caught speeding while work is being performed. While many laws have been passed in an effort to make conditions safer for both workers and motorists, construction work zones remain dangerous places.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) performed an extensive study on the dangers of construction accidents. Citing Bureau of Labor statistics, the CDC reports that Pennsylvania had the third most construction worker deaths in work zones in 2010. Despite the increase in awareness of the dangers of work zones, accidents are still happening. Throughout the U.S., over 70 percent of the fatalities in construction work zones in 2010 were caused by motor vehicle accidents.
While motor vehicles have caused most of the deaths in work zones, they are not the only concern for construction workers. Work zones can be very busy places, with large equipment constantly in use. This equipment can be used to remove or install new surfaces on roads, which can mean that a lot of very heavy objects may be moved over large distances. Construction vehicles will be traveling throughout the zone, forcing workers to be on alert at all times.
Construction companies must follow strict rules, and failing to adhere to these rules may result in high fines. While work zone fatalities have decreased, it is important for employers to take the appropriate steps to protect their workers. As more cars hit the roads for the busy summer traveling season, it will be one more danger for construction workers.
Source: CDC “Highway Work Zone Safety“