Construction Workers at Risk of Workplace Accidents During Holiday Travel Season

During the upcoming holiday season, the roads will be packed with merrymakers. From college kids driving home to see their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas to partygoers out celebrating the holidays at family gatherings to shoppers hitting the mall, drivers are likely to be eager to get where they are going this holiday season.

Unfortunately, with so many drivers headed to their holiday destinations, the risk of construction accidents for workers may increase. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that they have suspended most road construction activities in the days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, but road crews in several areas still will be working to complete their jobs during the holiday season. In these areas, construction workers are at risk of workplace accidents caused by drunk drivers, distracted drivers and drivers who may be headed to holiday events in adverse weather. 1365367_traffic_cone_1.jpg

Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyers urge all drivers to be aware of the dangers to road crews and urges employers to take steps to prevent work zone fatalities and injuries.

How Drivers Can Help Avoid Work-Zone Accidents
The first line of defense against work-zone accidents for road crews is drivers who drive safely and obey the rules. The North Carolina Department of Transportation provides some advice to drivers, all of which can help prevent construction workers from falling victim to workplace accidents on the roadside. These tips include:

  • Leaving ample time to get to your destination.
  • Driving during non-busy times.
  • Choosing alternative routes to avoid busy or congested roadways.
  • Remaining alert for signs of workers, narrow lanes and traffic shifts.
  • Obeying the speed limit.
  • Avoiding drowsy and distracted driving, both of which can be deadly.
  • Keeping informed of traffic backups. You can obtain real-time travel and traffic information on your phone by calling 511.

By following these common-sense precautions, holiday travelers could potentially save a life.

How Employers Can Help Avoid Work-Zone Accidents
Employers must also take steps to keep workers safe during holiday construction. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) provides some guidelines for employers on work zone traffic safety. Their recommendations include:

  • Using clear traffic control signs to identify work zones.
  • Marking work-zone areas with signs, barrels, cones and other identifying markers.
  • Instructing drivers on what paths to follow when work is being performed.
  • Using additional protective devices including crash cushions and collapsible barriers.
  • Ensuring flaggers are properly attired in fluorescent, retro-reflective material. This material should be performance class 2 or performance class 3.
  • Illuminating flagger stations. If employees are on foot or operating equipment, the illumination should consist of candles that are five feet or larger. The glare from the lighting should also be controlled or eliminated.
  • Training flaggers and ensuring they know authorized signaling methods.

These essential suggestions made by OSHA should be followed by all employers who have road crews working this holiday season. Avoiding workplace accidents should always be a top priority at any time of the year, but with the many holiday drivers on the roads, vigilance and caution are more important than ever.

If you or your loved one has been injured in an on-the-job accident, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources

Snow Brings Increased Risks for Carolina Work Accidents, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 14, 2012

Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job in North Carolina, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2012

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