Work zone injuries and fatalities are not going down despite various efforts made in Tennessee and across the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that since the start of 2014, there have been an average of 745 fatalities in work zones, including construction workers and others.
Many of these worker deaths arise from intrusions, which is when cars enter the work zone. The Center for Construction Training and Research found that most work zone fatalities between 2011 and 2016 were due to intrusions. In all, 267 deaths were vehicle-related with 61.4% involving forward-moving vehicles and 24.7% involving a backover incident.
Despite the lack of improvement nationwide, there is still a lot that individual employers can do to keep workers safe. For long-term project, they can fortify the work zone with concrete barriers. Mobile barriers are available, too, for short-term jobs. Before any equipment goes into use in the work zone, operators should check to see if anyone is in the equipment’s blind spots. This is called a circle check. Workers need to wear high-visibility clothing that meets the standards set by ANSI/ISEA. Employers should have a traffic control plan in place as well.
Employers cannot prevent all accidents, though, which is why most are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Victims, for their part, may file for workers’ comp benefits, which usually cover all medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and even short- or long-term disability leave. The filing process can be complicated, so it may be wise to have a lawyer for advice and guidance throughout the process.