A Spike in Fatal Injuries at Road Construction Sites

Source: blasbike - 123RF/Sun News

A recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) shows that from 2011 to 2016, 532 construction workers were killed at road construction sites, more than twice as many fatalities as all other industries combined.

Between 2003 and 2016, 1,269 construction workers died at road construction sites, accounting for approximately 9% of all construction fatalities each year.

The rate of fatal injuries at road construction sites also fell and rose during the economic recession and recovery.

About half of those fatalities resulted from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment, the report states, and nearly three-fourths were part of the highway, street and bridge subsector.

Other findings include:

  • The number of road construction worker deaths rose to 103 in 2016 from a period-low 72 in 2013 – a 43 percent increase;
  • Workers operating as crossing guards had the highest fatality rate, at 40.9 per 100,000; and
  • The months with the most fatal incidents were October (12.8 percent) and June (12.2 percent).

The report highlights injury prevention strategies for road construction sites from several agencies, including OSHA, NIOSH, the Federal Highway Administration, and CPWR.

Proposed ideas include increasing visibility of workers and signage, creating positive barriers between workers and traffic, using warning systems for drivers and workers, enforcing speed reduction, and using engineering controls such as closing roads or rerouting traffic when possible.