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How Dangerous Is It to Be a Road Worker?

Roadside construction is a necessary part of daily life. Our highways and utilities require roadside maintenance from time to time, and large construction projects will inevitably bump up against busy highways. However, there's a cost to roadside projects. Construction has the highest fatality rate of any industry, but roadside construction sites alone account for nearly 3% of all fatal workplace incidents annually. According to the CDC, over 2,000 workers lost their lives at road construction sites from 2003 to 2019, or an average of 124 a year.

In other words, it's extremely dangerous to be a road worker in the United States.

Today's blog talks about what exactly makes roadside construction so dangerous, the places where it's the most likely to be fatal, and what kind of accidents roadside workers typically experience. If you drive by roadside construction sites often, we hope this blog inspires you to drive a little more vigilantly; if you're a roadside worker, know that you have advocates at Arnold & Itkin LLP who recognize the risks you're facing every day.

If you're ever injured in a roadside construction accident, call (888) 493-1629 today for a free consultation.

The Most Common Accidents for Roadside Construction Workers

While roadside workers experience a wide variety of accidents, the vast majority of fatal accidents fell into a single category. About 76% of fatal injuries at roadside job sites from 2011 to 2017 were "transportation events," or motor vehicle accidents. Two-thirds of transportation events were workers who were hit by a vehicle in the construction zone.

Vehicles involved in fatal accidents at roadside construction sites included:

  • Pickups and SUVs (151 incidents)
  • Machinery vehicles (131 incidents)
  • Automobiles (129 incidents)
  • Semi-trucks (124 incidents)
  • Dump trucks (82 incidents)

According to data for incidents where the direction of travel was noted, about 1 in 4 fatal vehicle accidents at roadside construction sites were backup accidents.

Most Dangerous Roadside Jobs

Roadside construction sites include traditional construction projects, utility projects, and road maintenance. Each of those sites includes different roles and positions, all of which are recorded in fatal accident data. So, which positions are the most dangerous at a roadside construction site?

According to the CDC, construction laborers are the most likely to suffer fatal accidents. From 2012 to 2017, about 473 construction laborers suffered fatal injuries on the job.

The other roles/positions that were in fatal accidents include:

  • Truck operators (250)
  • Construction equipment operator (200)
  • First-line supervisors (163)
  • Highway maintenance workers (142)

In general, the vast majority (77%) of fatal roadside injuries happened to private-sector workers. Employees for state or local organizations made up roughly 7% of fatal incidents each.

The Most Dangerous Places for Roadside Construction Work

Over a 15- year period, Texas ranked as the U.S. state with the most deaths at roadside construction sites with 218 fatalities—a sizable margin. Florida came in second with 132, followed by Pennsylvania (91), Illinois (83), California (76), and Tennessee (70).

Texas' ranking as one of the most dangerous states for roadside construction workers is why Arnold & Itkin is committed to fighting for injured workers. It's possible for employers to make life safer for their employees, whether it's through better safety equipment or stronger policies, but they won't follow through unless someone compels them too. With over $10 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients, our firm is well-equipped to compel any defendant to do right by injured workers.

Call (888) 493-1629 to learn what we can do for you. Get a free consultation today.

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