Houston Work Zone Accident Lawyers
Accidents in Highway Construction & Maintenance Zones
When roads need to be constructed, repaired, or maintained, “work zones” are set up for construction workers. Although necessary, work zones on streets or on the sides of highways pose serious hazards for workers and drivers alike. Many people are struck by cars zooming down a freeway every year. In fact, of all roadside work zone fatalities, 45% are the result of a pedestrian worker being struck by a vehicle.
In 2010, the DOT gathered data about work zone fatalities as a result of crashes in construction zones. They found there were 514 vehicle crashes in roadside construction zones, resulting in 576 deaths. That’s 1 fatality every 15 hours.
The National Safety Council notes that the majority of work zone fatalities occur on roads with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or more. While nearly all states have laws that greatly penalize drivers for speeding or other traffic violations in work zones, preventable accidents still occur.
As a result, OSHA has created guidelines for all work zones with traffic to enhance the safety of employees. Work zones are supposed to use traffic controls that can be identified by signs, cones, barriers, or barrels in order to guide traffic into proper lanes and the work space.
OSHA Work Zone Requirements
OSHA asks supervisors to create traffic control signals and message boards that show drivers where to operate their vehicles during work hours. OSHA says that there are a variety of different work zone protections that can be used to safeguard employees from traffic.
Some of these barriers include the following:
- Concrete walls
- Crash cushions
OSHA's guidelines state that drivers, employees, and any pedestrians in the area should be able to see and understand the routes that are designated for both on-foot traffic and automobile traffic. At roadside worksites, construction project managers are required to create these designations. At other locations, the property manager or supervisor needs to ensure traffic controls are in place.
OSHA Requirements for Flaggers
OSHA-regulated clothing can make a flagger visible for at least 1,000 feet in any direction.
To further prevent a collision, all work sites should have signs warning drivers of the flagger up ahead or of a slow zone. The flaggers should use illuminated paddles to direct traffic at night. All flagger stations need to be illuminated. If it is dark outside, then there should be flares or chemical lighting as is necessary. Workers need to ensure that glare effects are controlled or eliminated to lower the possibility of an accident. Also, flaggers must be trained and certified to do their job and abide by the authorized signaling methods while directing traffic out on the road.
Common Causes of Driver-Related Work Zone Accidents
- Driving while distracted
- Confusion about the path through a work zone
- Surprise by an unexpected work zone
- Slow reaction times in a work zone
- Loss of vehicle control due to pavement conditions
In order to combat this, many states require drivers to slow down in work zones, or face serious consequences. Although it may seem like the fault is clearly a certain individual’s, proving liability can become a complex issue. If the driver was impaired or made a poor judgment, they may be held liable. If the accident was due to a poorly planned work zone or a violation of regulation, then another party may be held accountable.
It’s important to consult a lawyer to get to the bottom of the issue. Call (888) 493-1629 or contact Arnold & Itkin LLP with a simple online form. We can get you the answers that you need.
How to Avoid Work Zone Accidents
Work zone accidents can be devastating for drivers and workers if proper safety precautions are not taken. By compensating for the change in road patterns, drivers may be able to prevent a life-altering injury or save a life—including their own.
To counteract the dangers of work zones, drivers are recommended to do the following:
- Slow down and follow posted work zone speed limits.
- Pay attention to workers and equipment.
- Be patient with traffic delays.
- Plan ahead when traveling through a work zone.
Injured in a Work Zone? Call a Houston Road Work Accident Attorney: (888) 493-1629.
OSHA has a single compliance officer for every 59,000 workers. Recent reports calculated that an OSHA official could complete an inspection of all worksites under his or her jurisdiction only if an officer did an inspection every single day for 10 years. With such a small force, OSHA is not equipped to ensure that every worksite is safe. Often, it is the risk of litigation or large settlements that pushes employers to keep their workers safe. That's part of what makes Arnold & Itkin's work so crucial. When workers are injured by unsafe procedures and workers’ comp does not provide what they need, their best chance for support is through a construction accident lawyer in Houston.
If you were on the job when you were harmed, and if you don't believe that your company followed the necessary OSHA guidelines to enhance your safety, then you may be able to seek compensation. You can hire a Houston personal injury lawyer at Arnold & Itkin LLP today to seek compensation in your case. We are happy to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a valid claim. With billions of dollars won on behalf of our clients, our firm has the experience and resources to fight for the resources you need.
Begin a free case evaluation with our firm today by calling us at (888) 493-1629.