The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) recently released a report confirming that highway construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in this country. For these people, a work injury or fatality often occurs when a motorist does not see the construction worker and inadvertently strikes him or her.
Since the 1940s, 60 highway workers' injuries have ended their lives; the last fatality on the Arizona roads was in 2006.
ADOT encourages motorists on Arizona's highways to do their part to help construction workers avoid an on-the-job injury. For example, ADOT reminded motorists that it is particularly important to slow down and pay attention in a work zone, as construction workers may draw close to a lane of traffic unexpectedly. ADOT also encouraged drivers to maintain a safe distance between the car in front of them and to make sure to obey the instructions of any flagger or special road sign.
While certainly the general public needs to watch out for construction workers along the road, the companies who employ these workers also have an obligation to ensure their safety. Under Arizona's workers' compensation system, an employer must ensure that its employees will receive adequate compensation for any injuries they suffer while on the job. An employee will normally receive compensation through the workers' compensation system without regard to who was at fault for the accident.
It may behoove those companies who work on Arizona's roads to join on ADOT's campaign to educate drivers about how to drive in construction zones. Doing so may save the company, but, more importantly, it may be the right the thing to do if the company sincerely cares about the safety of its highway workers.
Source: stgnews.com, "Highway worker fatalities grim reminder: driver attention and 'Move Over' laws save lives," Dec. 10, 2012