A Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) worker died last month in a fatal work zone accident on State Route 54. The worker was flagging traffic around the maintenance crew working on the route when he was struck by a vehicle.
This is the second TDOT worker to die in a work zone accident in three months. Since 1948, there have been 111 TDOT workers to lose their lives on road side construction projects.
Roadside Construction is Necessary, Work Zone Accidents Are Not
Roads can deteriorate over time, so it is necessary to perform roadside construction in order to maintain them. That said, it is important for employers, such as TDOT, to protect the workers that keep our roads drivable.
It is no surprise working close to traffic can be dangerous. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) insists most workplace accidents are preventable as long as the proper safety precautions are taken. Every roadside work zone comes with its unique set of risks regarding work activities and, of course, traffic. It is TDOT’s (and every other employer’s) responsibility to identify work zone hazards, make sure their workers recognize those hazards and put measures into place to prevent roadside construction accidents, including the following:
- All workers must understand basic traffic control, whether they are flagging or operating equipment
- All workers must wear reflective work apparel to make them visible
- Workers must be trained to anticipate changes in the environment, whether that includes rush-hour traffic or weather changes
- Spotters must be in place to watch for approaching cars and work vehicles
- Cones, traffic barriers and construction warning signs must be placed around the work zones.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 20,000 workers are injured in roadside construction work zones. These work zone accidents are usually caused by falling objects, collisions with equipment, falls, overexertion, and vehicle crashes. TDOT needs to start taking better care to protect its workers by complying with these standards.
The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville personal injury law firm that fights for workers injured in construction accidents.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23