Road construction is a hazardous industry that presents numerous risks to workers. Construction crews face unique dangers associated with both the nature of their work and their working environment. Understanding these risks is the first step toward preventing accidents and ensuring workers’ safety.
One of the most prominent and unique risks to road construction crews is exposure to traffic. Workers often operate mere feet away from moving vehicles, leading to a high risk of severe or fatal accidents. Distracted or impaired drivers, poor visibility or bad weather conditions can exacerbate this danger. On top of this, workers also have to worry about the following hazards as well.
Heavy machinery and equipment
Road construction involves using heavy machinery and equipment, such as pavers, rollers and excavators. Accidents can occur due to machine malfunctions, improper use, lack of training or workers being struck by or caught in the equipment.
Noise and vibration
Continuous exposure to high noise levels from machinery and traffic can cause permanent hearing loss. Similarly, excessive vibration from specific tools and equipment can lead to conditions like hand-arm vibration syndrome, affecting the blood vessels, nerves and joints.
Working at height
While road construction primarily occurs at ground level, there are instances where workers may need to work at height, such as on bridges or overpasses. These situations can lead to falls, which is a leading cause of injury in the construction industry.
Exposure to harmful substances
Road construction workers are often exposed to harmful substances, including asphalt fumes, silica dust, diesel exhaust and solvents. These substances can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritations and other long-term health issues.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders
The physical demands of road construction work can lead to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These can result from repetitive movements, heavy lifting, awkward postures or prolonged periods of vibration.
Road construction workers who suffer injuries at work have specific rights. These often include receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Some workers may have to fight for the benefits they’re due, so seeking legal guidance is often appropriate.