Highway workers are placed in great danger over the course of an average work day. Because motor vehicles are frequently involved, highway workers are often seriously injured and even killed when accidents occur. These injuries also occur at a high rate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that highway construction accidents are responsible for two out of every five construction worker deaths. Also, statistics compiled by the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reveal that in 2014 there were 669 fatalities due to crashes in work zones. 20 percent of the United States highways are under construction with over 3,000 constructions zones operating when peak construction season is in full swing. Operators on the highway encounter 1 highway construction site for every 100 miles of highway they travel.
Employers are expected to follow OSHA safety standards to protect their employee workers. The OSHA standards that regulate work in traffic and roadway areas are found in 29 CFR 1926. OSHA requires employers to install traffic signs at every dangerous construction site. Regulation 29 CFR 1926.201 (a) requires that most construction areas have at least one designated flagger working traffic control. The flagger needs to be provided reflective or highly visible apparel. Employers must hire or train someone who can competently identify and correct highway work site hazards. Employers must also provide every employee working in a highway construction zone with a reflective or highly visible apparel.
- Traffic Signs: 29 CFR 1926.200 (g): (1) Construction areas shall be posted with legible traffic signs at points of hazard. (2) All traffic control signs or devices used for protection of construction workers shall conform to Part VI of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices
- Flaggers: 29 CFR 1926.201 (a): Signaling by flaggers and the use of flaggers, including warning garments worn by flaggers shall conform to Part VI of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control
- Worker Safety Clothing: Employers should provide high visibility clothing and reflectors which will alert motor vehicle operators to the presence of workers Worker Safety Apparel – all workers exposed to the risks of moving roadway traffic or construction equipment should wear high-visibility safety apparel meeting the requirements of ISEA “American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel”
- Temporary Traffic Barriers: Temporary traffic barriers should be placed along the work space depending on factors such as lateral clearance of workers from adjacent traffic, speed of traffic, duration and type of operations, time of day, and volume of traffic.
Accidents in Highway Work Zones Are Usually Catastrophic
The injuries that occur in highway work zones are particularly severe and frequently involve back and neck injuries, broken bones, concussions, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, permanent impairment, traumatic brain injuries. There are several common causes of highway accidents, which include the following:
- Distracted construction equipment operators;
- Errors made by motor vehicle operators;
- Excessive motor vehicle speeding;
- Improper or inadequate postings or warning signs;
- Lack of barriers or protections between motor vehicles traveling on the highway and the employees;
- Intoxicated Motorists who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and/or
- No flagger.
Some particular examples of accidents involving highway workers include the following:
- In 2016, a highway worker in Massachusetts was struck and killed by a driver who was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. At the time that the accident occurred, the worker was setting up a safety zone.
Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys are able to secure the following benefits for injured workers and their families when workers sustain injuries for accidents that occur within the scope of the workers employment:
- Section 35- Temporary Partial Disability: these benefits are provided if the work injury has reduced the workers earning capacity by limiting to type of work or amount of work the injured employee can perform. Partial disability workers’ compensation benefits entitle injured workers to 60% of the wages they would have earned from their job if they did not get injured. These benefits are paid weekly for up to 260 weeks. The maximum compensation cannot exceed 75% of the workers temporary total disability pay rate;
- Section 34- Temporary Total Disability Benefits: these benefits are provided if the injury has left the employee physically incapable of working. Temporary Total Disability workers’ compensation benefits entitle the injured worker to 60% of the wages they would have earned from their job if they did not get injured. These benefits are paid weekly and can be paid for up to 156 weeks or 3 years;
- Section 34A-Permanent & Total Disability Benefits: These benefits are provided if the injury has left the worker permanently unable to perform any type of work. Total Disability workers’ compensation benefits entitle injured workers 66.66% of their average weekly wage;
- Section 36-Scarring, Disfigurement and Loss of Function Benefits: These benefits are payable if the injury is permanent. Benefits for scarring are only available for scars on the hands, neck and face. This is a one time lump sum payment and the amount depends on the type of injury;
- Death Benefits for Surviving Spouse: The injured workers husband or wife are entitled to 66.67% of the deceased workers average weekly wage for 250 weeks. They can also qualify for benefits beyond 250 weeks.
Call Today: (508) 588-0422
If you or a loved one has been injured in a highway construction accident, do not hesitate to contact a skilled construction accident lawyer. The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan are a group of Massachusetts Work Accident Attorneys with over 35 years of legal experience. Our legal counsel has helped individuals who have been injured in a number of work site accidents including ladder fall accidents. Call our Brockton Worker’s Compensation Lawyer today for a free consultation.
Representing the residents of Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Holbrook, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Lakeville, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Revere, Dorchester, Roxbury.