No one appreciates the bright orange signs indicating that there is road construction ahead. Every year, it sees as though half of the country's highways all have construction projects being completed or started. While this frequently causes traffic jams and inconveniences, these construction zones also pose a threat to drivers and construction workers alike.
It is no secret that employment in the road construction industry is hazardous. In fact, 73% of all deaths among members of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) occurred in road and highway construction. This number is exceptionally high, particularly when considering the fact that only around 30% of their members are employed in the road construction industry specifically. Every year, between 120 and 130 road construction workers are killed. 23% of the fatalities are due to construction workers on foot being stuck by a wide variety of traffic vehicles.
The leading safety hazards for construction workers are falling from a height, motor vehicle crashes, electrocution, machines (including roll over), and contact with falling objects. Non-workers are at risk as well. They are at risk due to improperly designed barricades, uneven lanes, poorly constructed signs, narrow lanes, and confusing signs. The majority of the risks for non-workers are causes of accidents.
Whenever there are uneven lanes, there is the risk that an exceptionally top-heavy vehicle can roll over. In addition, narrow lanes can make it exceptionally scary to pass an 18-wheeler. All of the risks associated with 18-wheelers on normal roads are exacerbated by construction zones. There is simply less room for any sort of error in a construction zone.
Improperly designed barricades are a problem because they frequently result in cars rolling or flying through the air after they strike a barricade. Barricades should be solid though. Orange cones are not a good sort of barricade as they do not provide a solid divider between traffic travelling in opposite directions. Poorly constructed signs, despite their seemingly nonthreatening appearance, can easily slice through a windshield or car if they are hit with enough force.
Confusing signs are a big cause of accidents in construction zones. This category of risk includes conflicting lane marks. If an individual can not understand where he or she is supposed to go, the individual has less time to change lanes if necessary. This contributions to split-second decisions which can cut other drivers off and cause accidents.