Prevention of Backing Fatalities in Construction Work Zones: Final ReportAuthor/Presenter: Fan, Wei; Carrol, Clayton; Radley, Lee; Hostetler, Erin; Choe, Sooyoung; Leite, Fernanda; Seedah, Dan; Caldas, Carlos
Construction, repair, and maintenance work zones are always hazardous environments, particularly given the dangerous combinations of pedestrian workers and large trucks, bulldozers, rollers, and other moving machinery. Workers are exposed to moving traffic near the work zone with the risk of errant vehicles entering the work zone area. Pedestrian workers are exposed to construction vehicle crashes within the work zone. Between 70 and 80 pedestrian construction workers are struck and killed each year by construction vehicles within a work zone. From 1995 to 2002, 844 worker deaths occurred in roadway work zones, of which 91% were related to motor vehicle traffic or construction equipment. Construction vehicle related deaths were responsible for more than half of these deaths. Dump trucks accounted for 41% of pedestrian-worker deaths and 52% of these involved dump trucks backing up. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) named run-overs and back-overs as the leading cause of death for roadway construction workers, with over half occurring when workers were struck by construction vehicles or equipment inside the work zone. The purpose of this study was to review current practices and procedures to prevent backing fatalities, identify and analyze appropriate responses, and test commercially available systems for prevention of backing fatalities. Guidelines and recommendations for TxDOT traffic control practices, which incorporate commercially available systems for the prevention of backing fatalities in work zone operations, are also provided in this study.