Almost two of five contractors reported a vehicle crashing into their work zone in the past year, according to a new survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Of the 39% who reported a crash, 44% said motor vehicle operators or passengers were injured and 12% of those crashes involved a driver or passenger fatality. Highway work zone crashes also pose a significant risk for construction workers, as the survey showed 18% of work zone crashes injure construction workers and 6% of those crashes kill them.
"Any time your job site is just a few feet away from fast moving traffic, danger is never far away," said Jeff DiStefano, the vice chairman of Harrison & Burrows Bridge Constructors in Glenmont, N.Y. and chairman of the association's Highway and Transportation Division. "The easiest way to improve work zone safety is to get motorists to slow down and pay attention."
Work zone crashes can delay construction schedules and increase costs. In the survey, 25% of contractors reported that work zone crashes during the past year that forced them to temporarily shut down construction activity. Those delays were often lengthy, as 51% of those project shutdowns lasted two or more days.
More than two-thirds of contractors (77%) reported that motor vehicle crashes pose a greater risk today than they did 10 years ago. Meanwhile, 72% of contractors report that having positive barriers, including Jersey barriers, between workers and moving traffic can save lives and prevent injuries.
To increase visibility, contractors can equip their fleet and work trucks with strobe emergency lighting. In a nod to this, Ford will begin offering a factory-installed amber LED lighting kit with its F-150 for the first time for the 2016 model year.