Roadside Workers and Protection from On-The-Job Dangers

Officials throughout the state are working long hours to help to improve our roadways for motorists. Unfortunately, many of these workers are risking their lives to get the job done. As motorists, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we’re careful and cautious around these workers to help save lives.
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According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), there are roughly 200 major work zones in the state of North Carolina at any given time. In 2010, there were more than 2,100 work zone accidents in the state. And in these accidents, there were more than 1,200 people injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents. More than 10 people were killed in Carolina work zones throughout the year.

Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys understand that more than 70 percent of these accidents happened on completely clear days — with no weather to blame. More than 80 percent of the reported accidents happened during dry road conditions and about three-fourths of them occurred during daylight hours. And for these reasons, we have the NCDOT Work Zone Safety Program. This program aims to significantly reduce the number of work zone fatalities and injuries in North Carolina.

These workers must protect themselves by being alert during work operations, wearing high visibility safety apparel and PPE, and by facing traffic whenever possible. The employee is responsible for PPE maintenance and reporting to their supervisor immediately when any PPE is lost or damaged. Employees shall don High Visibility Apparel prior to disembarking from any vehicle or entry upon any street, road, highway, alley or right of way where work activities and tasks near these roadways draw worker attention away from approaching vehicular traffic.

Federal Highway Administration regulations state that a commercial vehicle stopped in a lane or shoulder of the highway “shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers.” The flashers should remain on until the driver places warning devices around the vehicle. The warning devices can be reflective triangles or flares.

Another important factor in a safe work zone is making sure that everything is signed. You want to make sure that there are warnings for motorists about designated speed limits and lane changes. Alerting motorists about the hazards in these work zones is one of the best ways that you can help to eliminate the risks for an accident. Warnings may help to increase attention from motorist.

You also should place some kind of barriers between the highway traffic and your workers. Barricades are something that everyone can understand and they can help to keep roadside workers safe from any outside dangers.

It’s also important to make sure that flaggers are on site to direct traffic. This is going to help to protect not only the on-foot workers, but also the workers who are operating the heavy machinery that’s heading in and out of the zone. Flaggers can help to make sure that motorists are heading in the right direction and they’re heading there away from workers.

Lastly, you not only want to make sure that all workers are properly trained in these preventative measures, but you want to make sure that the work site is properly light. Bright work areas will help to increase awareness and will help those passing by to stay aware too. There’s no sense in working in the dark.

If you or someone you love has suffered work injury in North or South Carolina, contact the Lee Law Offices at 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:

Airport Work Safety: OSHA Cites TSA, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 27, 2013

Booming Construction Industry: More Work Injuries?, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 23, 2013

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