As a construction worker who is regularly working on the highways in Ohio, you know how dangerous that job can be. Drivers don’t always slow down like they should, and the workload never really seems to end. There is an almost endless supply of potholes, cracks and other damage that consistently needs to be repaired on the roads.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction and extraction occupational group was the second most likely to have workplace fatalities in Ohio. In 2019, 30 people were killed on the job. Transportation incidents made up 35% of all work-related fatalities for men in Ohio.
Work zones are dangerous places. There may not be a way to prevent drivers from speeding or being reckless, but workers can take steps to stay safer.
Working on the road? Avoid distractions
When you work on the road with your team, it’s essential that you don’t get distracted. There should always be someone who is monitoring oncoming traffic and the flow of traffic in general. If vehicles are approaching too quickly, it may be valuable to set up a larger buffer zone or to send out a flagger to stop traffic and minimize vehicle speed through the area.
Even with concrete barriers and other protections in place, it’s possible that a worker could be hit by a passing vehicle or even one of the vehicles belonging to the construction site. Transportation accidents are relatively common, so always stay in good communication with the driver, so they know who is in the work zone and that the area is clear before they pull in or back up.
Another excellent tip for staying safe is being sure you have your brightly colored vest on at all times. If you have a hardhat, keep that on, too. These items make you stand out and will also show drivers that there are workers doing their jobs. When drivers see work is happening, they tend to slow down more than if the work zone appears to be shut down for the day.
If you do end up in a collision with an outside vehicle or one of your own or are involved in a construction accident of another kind, remember that you may have a right to workers’ compensation to cover your injuries.