Due to the high demands of increased traffic, road construction work on aging highways is increasingly done on roads that are open to traffic or at night. Safety hazards associated with this trend place construction workers at high risk for on-the-job injuries.

According to a report cited by the U. S. Department of Transportation, more than 20,000 road workers are injured every year.

What are the most common causes for injury?

You may expect that car accidents are the most common reason for road construction accidents. However, that is not the case. Here is a list of injury causes, from the most frequently cited down.

  • Contact with objects or equipment
  • Slips and falls
  • Overextension
  • Transportation accidents
  • Harmful exposure from substances or environments

What are the most common causes for fatalities?

Accounting for roughly 1.5% to 3% of workplaces deaths annually, road construction is a dangerous occupation. The causes for fatal workplace accidents are slightly different from those for injury.

  • Runovers/Backovers: More than half of all road construction deaths occur when workers are run over by equipment or vehicles. Accidents are more likely to be caused by construction vehicles than cars, vans or semi-trucks.
  • Vehicle collisions: Accidents involving equipment and vehicles account for many fatalities.
  • Contact with objects or equipment: Being caught in between equipment or being struck by an object is also a common cause of fatality.

Following safety procedures can reduce accidents; however, it will likely never be possible to eliminate fatalities altogether. Road construction workers should know that workers’ compensation is available to them if they are injured on the job.