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The Real Risks of Working in Construction Zones

Written by Ankin Law Office

Thousands of workers are injured while working in road construction zones each year. The inherently dangerous nature of construction work coupled with the hazardous environment makes it one of the most dangerous professions in the country. Workers’ compensation lawyers in Illinois represent clients seeking compensation for injuries sustained in the course of this perilous profession.

Accidents are Common

Accidents in construction zones along America’s roads and highways are common. Between 2003-2008, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 20% of injuries. During this same period, approximately 35% of injuries were the result of contact with objects or equipment. In many cases, these accidents occurred due to the limited working area road crews are required to work within. Overexertion accounted for roughly 15% of accidents, while exposure to harmful substances accounted for 5%. Even with enhanced police presence and strict penalties for violating speeds within work zones, transportation accidents caused 12% of injuries from 2003-2008. In 2013, 67,253 car accidents alone were recorded in work zones.

Car Accidents are Killers

In 2013, work zone accidents caused 47,758 injuries to workers and motorists. That was a rate equal to 131 injured individuals per day. That same year, there were 527 fatal accidents that caused 597 fatalities within work zones. In 2014, 669 individuals were killed in work zone crashes; 116 of these fatalities were construction workers. In fact, accidents caused by speeding vehicles and careless drivers are the second most common cause of fatalities to road construction workers.

Frequent Causes of Fatalities

Road work puts workers in close proximity with dangerous equipment. This equipment can seriously injure and kill an individual. Common causes of serious injuries or fatalities include:

  • Runover/backover caused by dump trucks, cranes, backhoes, etc.
  • Collisions with other construction equipment.
  • Caught between moving pieces of equipment.
  • Overexertion leading to

Workers’ compensation lawyers in Illinois support the efforts that law enforcement and others have taken to improve the safety of road construction workers. Even so, given recent data that shows a slow rate of decline in the number of injuries and fatalities, it’s clear that more needs to be done to protect these workers from harm.