California is crossed with surface roads and freeways that help people get where they need to go, regardless of whether they take public transportation or their own vehicle. Maintaining those roads requires a substantial financial investment and the work of many professionals.

Those who work in road construction have a lot of risk on the job. They handle dangerous machinery and hot asphalt, both of which could present a risk of injury. Beyond that, they often also have to work in close proximity with moving traffic, which increases their risk of injury on the job or even death.

According to a federal review of road construction fatalities, California is in the top five most dangerous states for road construction workers, who need to learn about their risks and the systems in place to help protect them.

An analysis of data shows that dozens of road workers died in recent years

According to data collected and analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 76 road construction workers suffered fatal injuries on the job in California between 2003 and 2017. That makes California the fifth most dangerous state in the country for road construction workers, following behind Texas with 218 deaths, Florida with 132 deaths, Pennsylvania with 91 deaths and Illinois with 83 road worker deaths during the same period.

While fatal accidents are noteworthy and alarming, injurious accidents to road construction workers are also a matter of serious public safety concern. Road workers can suffer broken bones, severe burns, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries as a result of the work they do on the job.

Workers’ compensation protects road construction workers and their families

If someone gets hurt or dies on the job, there will be many costs, including the cost of medical care, funeral services and lost wages. Both construction workers who get hurt on the job and surviving dependent family members of workers who died while attempting to maintain, improve or build California’s roads will have the option of seeking benefits through workers’ compensation.

Disability benefits and health care benefits can protect injured workers, while survival benefits can replace some of the wages of a deceased worker and cover certain costs related to their burial or funeral. Statistically, more families in California than in most other states will eventually need those benefits.