CDC Report Suggests Ways to Prevent Injuries, Fatalities to Workers in Highway Work ZonesAbstract:
Ways to build on current safeguards and better protect workers in highway and street work zones from serious injury and death are recommended in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Each year, nearly 100 workers are killed and more than 20,000 are injured in highway and street construction, according to the report, “Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment.” Traditionally, job safety efforts in the industry have focused mostly on reducing the risk of workers being struck unintentionally by passing motorists. However, traffic-related injuries account for only half of work zone fatalities, NIOSH found. The other half result from workers being struck by construction vehicles and equipment inside the work zone. “NIOSH has worked closely with employers, equipment manufacturers, workers, unions, safety organizations, and other state and federal agencies to address job-related risks in work zones,” said NIOSH Acting Director Lawrence J. Fine, M.D., Dr.P.H. “The new report brings all of those perspectives to bear on our mutual goal of preventing worker injuries and deaths.” In addition to making recommendations for preventing worker injuries, the new report also provides comprehensive information to help employers, workers, and others address potential hazards at individual work sites. The report includes extensive information on numbers, rates, and causes of occupational fatalities and injuries in work zones, current safety requirements for the industry, and 29 case studies of worker fatalities that NIOSH has investigated, along with specific recommendations for preventing similar fatalities in the future.