Research/studies Highways, streets and bridges Construction

Worker fatalities at road construction sites on the rise: CPWR

work zone

Photo: Cathy Morrizon, staff photographer, Missouri Department of Transportation

Silver Spring, MD — A total of 532 construction workers were killed at road construction sites from 2011 through 2016 – more than twice the combined total for all other industries combined – according to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, also known as CPWR.

About half of those fatalities resulted from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment, the report states, and nearly three-fourths of the workers killed were employed in the highway, street and bridge subsector.

Other findings:

  • The number of road construction worker deaths rose to 103 in 2016 from a period-low 72 in 2013 – a 43 percent increase.
  • Workers operating as crossing guards had the highest fatality rate, at 40.9 per 100,000.
  • The months with the most fatal incidents were October (12.8 percent) and June (12.2 percent).
  • 1,269 road construction worker deaths occurred at construction sites from 2003 through 2016. This accounted for about 9 percent of all construction fatalities each year.

The report highlights injury prevention strategies for road construction sites from CPWR and several agencies, including OSHA, NIOSH and the Federal Highway Administration. Proposed ideas include increasing visibility of workers and signage, creating positive barriers between workers and traffic, using warning systems for drivers and workers, enforcing speed reduction, and using engineering controls such as closing roads or rerouting traffic when possible.

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