December 2004, Vol. 127, No.12
Fatal occupational injuries at road construction sites
Economist, Office of Safety, Health, and Working Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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During the 1995 to 2002 period, 844 workers were killed while working at a road construction site.1 More than half of these fatalities were attributable to a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment. The range of these fatal occupational injuries was a low of 93 in 1996 and a high of 124 in 1999, as shown below:
Fatal workplace injuries at road construction sites were first identified as a separate category in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) in 1995. Since that time, overall workplace fatalities have generally declined, but fatalities at road construction sites have fluctuated, staying in the low 100ís since 1998. Workplace fatalities that occur at a road construction site typically account for 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of all workplace fatalities annually.
A number of safety measures exist for road construction sites. For instance, the Federal Highway Administrationís Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices provides guidance ranging from the types of signs to use at a road construction site to the proper use of rumble strips.2 In addition, the Federal Highway Administration offers tips for motorists on traveling safely through road construction sites.3 As fatal work injuries at road construction sites continue to account annually for a large number of fatal occupational injuries, it becomes even more important to determine the types of workers involved in road construction site fatalities and the events that precipitate the fatalities.4
1 Preliminary data for 2002 are used in this analysis.
2 For more information on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, see http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/
3 See http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roaduser/wzs.htm
4 For an examination of worker fatalities in highway work zones from 1992 to 1998, see pages 5 and 6 of Building Safer Highway Work Zones: Measures to Prevent Worker Injuries from Vehicles and Equipment, on the Internet at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pdfs/01-128.pdf
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