Almost half (46%) of all work zone worker fatalities from 2003-2010 were caused by being struck by a vehicle. And it’s surprising that only 2% of those workers were killed by drunk drivers. From 2003 to 2015, a total of 1,324 work zone fatalities were recorded, which is about 102 per year.
New methods and materials are being tested and used throughout the States that can help reduce the risk of injury along roadways. This includes steel barricades, smart safety vests that alert workers when something is approaching them too quickly, and offsite prefabrication of structural components for overpasses that not only keep workers safe, but also reduces the impact of traffic.
10 States with Most Roadway Construction Work Zone Fatalities from 2003-2015 (Fatalities/Year)
Texas – 13.15
Florida – 8.00
Pennsylvania – 6.54
Illinois – 5.46
California – 5.31
Tennessee – 4.77
Indiana – 4.08
Ohio – 3.77
Georgia – 3.69
New York – 2.92
Falls, slips and trips remain the primary cause of construction worker deaths. They led to 364 deaths in construction. Transportation incidents were next at 226 worker deaths followed by contact with objects or equipment at 156 fatal injuries and exposure to harmful substances or environments responsible for 136 worker deaths.
According to OSHA, the leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, electrocution, struck-by-object and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than 58% of the construction deaths in 2014.
The Five Deadliest Jobs in 2015 (by fatal work injury rates):
1. Logging workers – 132.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 FTE workers
2. Fishers and related fishing workers – 54.8
3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers – 40.4
4. Roofers – 39.7
5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors – 38.8
So how do we help prevent most of these fatalities?
-Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face shield when using power tools and ensure protective guards are in good condition.
-Secure tools and materials using toe boards, screens, and debris nets.
-Avoid areas where work is being performed above and wear a hard hat at all times while on the construction site.
-Never position yourself under a suspended load, always verify that the heavy equipment operator sees you, and steer clear of vehicles and heavy equipment in use.
-Be familiar with equipment to know where the pinch, sheer, wrap and crush points are located, as well as pull-in areas.
-Shut down equipment before doing repairs or inspections and chock the wheels on equipment that could move or roll.
-Keep your focus on what you are doing and watch for people carrying objects that block their view.
-Wear close-fitting clothing, leave jewelry off while at work, and pull back long hair into a bun to prevent being caught in moving machinery.