All across America’s highways and streets, it is common to come across an active work zone. You will see cones, signs, and sometimes workers holding stop-yield signs to direct traffic. The workers in these designated work zones work in some of the most hazardous conditions out there. Traffic drives right by them, and some drivers who do not pay attention race through a work zone, endangering the workers and themselves.
To bring attention to the dangers of roadside and construction work zones, 2019 National Work Zone Awareness Week begins April 8th and ends April 12th. During this week, the theme is “Drive Like You Work Here.” It asks for motorists who approach and move through work zones to follow all rules and proceed only when safe to do so, just as they would like drivers to do if they were the ones wearing the orange vests and hard hats.
When people cause a work zone accident, injuries that may be suffered by workers include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Construction crews wear hard hats to protect them mostly from falling objects, like a hammer that slips out of a workers hand. They are not designed to absorb the impact a worker will suffer if they are hit by a driver speeding through the work zone. As such, a worker hit by a motorist is vulnerable to a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Spinal cord injuries: Pedestrian accidents are devastating, as the person hit has no protection from the vehicle’s force. Back injuries are often a result, sometimes causing permanent paralysis. A worker who suffers a spinal cord injury in a work zone accident will likely need medical care or rehabilitation therapy for the rest of their lives. Related costs must be accounted for when provided workers’ compensation.
- Broken bones: Construction workers have physically intense occupations. Suffering a broken bone in a work zone accident can seriously debilitate a worker as they wait for the injury to heal. They might have trouble being placed into another position in the meantime if their employer has no “light duty” work available, as is often the case for work zones.
Stay Safe in a Work Zone
To keep yourself and all others in a work zone safe, as a worker or driver, you should always:
- Pay close attention to all signs and directions.
- Turn off the radio to listen for audible directions.
- Slow your driving speed to a safe rate, even if not directly told to do so.
- Confirm oncoming traffic is slowing before moving close to a lane.
- Wear all available safety gear, including bright vests and helmets.
Learn more about work zone safety and 2019 Work Zone Awareness Week by clicking here and visiting the official National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse website.
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