Highway safety is a pressing issue these days. America’s highway infrastructure is aging, resulting in a constant need for improvement to repair and rebuild damaged roadways. This is great, because it creates jobs—but when you consider the increase in traffic on our roads in recent years, this can lead to more highway worker accidents. The rise of distracted driving and smart phone use also likely contributes to the rise in tragic accidents to road workers. These workers perform an essential function, and their safety should be an utmost priority for everyone.
Common Causes of Roadway Construction Accidents
Every year, over 20,000 hardworking men and women are injured in roadway construction zones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 100 more lose their lives while carrying out their jobs. Some of the main causes of accidents and fatalities in construction work zones include:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Contact/collision with vehicles
- Contact with overturned and jackknifed vehicles
- Exposure to hazardous substances
- Contact with construction equipment or falling objects
- Run overs and back overs
- Getting stuck in between construction equipment
What Road Workers Can Do to Stay Safe
Anyone who has worked in a roadway construction area is likely acutely aware of the risks and dangers. It is important that workers are properly trained on how to reduce their risk of harm by adhering to the following safety tips:
- Have a good transportation management plan and review it frequently. Oncoming vehicles should be alerted in advance through the use of signage and cones that they will be entering a construction zone. Workers should have a buffer area, and specific warnings about the change in traffic pattern. The plan should also manage the flow of workers and equipment inside the construction zone itself.
- Separate work spaces. Using cones or barriers to separate parking and walking areas from areas where heavy equipment is being used can reduce the number of accidents.
- Adhere to state and federal rules governing the use of traffic control devices (cones, barriers, signs, and barrels).
- Wear safety equipment, such as hard hats, hearing protection, steel-toed boots, and reflective fluorescent clothing.
- Stay vigilant. Face traffic whenever possible. If you cannot actively be watching traffic, make use of a spotter. If you are walking around heavy machinery, be aware of blind spots.
South Carolina’s Highway Worker Safety Act
The legislature has taken steps to protect road workers by enacting laws that heavily penalize drivers who speed through construction zones. Although this will not prevent all accidents, hopefully it will assist road workers in carrying out their important jobs safely.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Road Workers Injured in Construction Zones
If you have been injured in a construction zone, or lost a loved one in an accident, contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today. You may be entitled to lost wages, past and future medical expenses, vocational rehabilitation, disfigurement or disability pay, and more. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.
With six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured workers and families in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, and Summerville.