Road Construction Safety
The United States has over 4 trillion miles of road, over 65% of which is paved. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created over 12,600 road construction projects, over 10,000 of which are currently in progress. Workers in highway work zones are exposed to a variety of hazards and face risk of injury and death from construction equipment as well as passing motor vehicles. Workers on foot are exposed to passing traffic, often at high speeds, while workers who operate construction vehicles are at risk of injury due to overturn, collision, or being caught in running equipment. Regardless of the task assigned, all construction workers work in conditions of poor lighting, poor visibility, inclement weather, congested work areas, high volume traffic and speeds. In 2011, there were a total of 119 fatal occupation fatalities in road construction sites. In 2010 there were 37,476 injuries in work zones, about 20,000 of those injuries are construction workers.
Because they are so complicated, slight lapses in safety or awareness that might lead to mild accidents in other construction sites can be deadly for roadway construction workers. Causes of road worksite injuries include being struck by objects, trucks or mobile equipment (35%), falls or slips (20%), overexertion (15%), transportation incidents (12%), and exposure to harmful substances or environments (5%). Causes of fatalities include getting hit by trucks (58%), mobile