Construction workers in California probably know how dangerous it is to be in a work zone. Despite various efforts to reduce violations, the number of work zone fatalities nationwide has remained steady over the years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, analyzed the number of such fatalities between 2003 and 2018 and said that an average of 123 workers died each year. While 2013 saw a low of 105 deaths, the number shot up to 143 in 2016 before coming down to 124 in 2018. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recorded all work zone deaths, said that there have been an average of 745 such deaths since 2014.
Many of these workers die after being struck by cars entering the work zone: “intrusions,” as they are called. A study from the Center for Construction Research and Training, looking at intrusion-related fatalities between 2011 and 2016, said 61.4% were caused by forward-moving vehicles and 24.7% by backover incidents. There are numerous ways that employers can improve work zone safety. For example, the use of traffic control plans and the performing of “circle checks” so that workers won’t be in the blind spot of certain equipment. Workers must wear high-visibility clothing. For long-term projects, employers could invest in physical barriers.
Under workers’ compensation law, workers injured on the job may be reimbursed for their various losses. This includes all medical expenses and a portion of the income they lost during their physical recovery. The benefits may even cover short- or long-term disability leave. Victims may want a lawyer to assist them with the filing as well as with any appeals.