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Roadway construction accidents: Moving vehicles

Construction can be a dangerous occupation regardless of the site or type of work being done, but roadway construction comes with a hazard not part of some other sites. Construction workers on the road not only deal with moving construction vehicles, but they also deal with vehicles on the roadway. While workers and employers can't always control how drivers act in a construction zone, they can follow some guidelines to increase safety on the job.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published some tips for creating a safer environment in a road construction zone. First, they suggest that the company involved in the job develop some standard procedures. Those procedures should be published and enforced throughout the site so that all workers are cooperating to create the safest possible environment.

The NIOSH also recommends that road construction companies make use of equipment that helps operators of construction vehicles keep others safe. Minimizing blind spots and using proximity warnings can help keep drivers of such vehicles from backing into or over other workers. Another way to prevent such hazards is to design the workflow processes and shifts to minimize the need for backing up vehicles. Vehicles might be routed in circular routes instead, or backing up might occur once all on-foot workers have left the scene.

Nighttime work is especially hazardous. Workers should make use of safety features, such as reflectors, and employers should provide enough light to the area.

In addition to safety equipment and policies, companies should ensure that workers and supervisors are communicating regularly. Communication lets supervisors know of safety hazards so they can be corrected as soon as possible. If companies are notified of safety hazards and do not correct them, they might be held liable for injuries that occur -- even if those injuries are not to a worker. In any case, if a worker is hurt on the job, he or she has a right to collect workers' compensation to pay for expenses related to the injury.

Source: Workplace Solutions from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, "Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Backing Construction Vehicles and Equipment at Roadway Construction Worksites," accessed Sep. 18, 2015

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