Road Construction: Making a Dangerous Job Safer

An allegedly drunk driver attempting to navigate the Woodmen Road project in Colorado Springs recently struck a road construction worker on Academy Boulevard. The early-morning crash sent the worker to the hospital with a broken leg and head injuries.

Janice Koch, 54, was hit about 1:40 a.m. Police told KRDO-TV that speed and alcohol were both factors in the collision. The driver accused of hitting, 22-year-old Dustin Thomas, fled the scene by was later apprehended.

Colorado Springs City engineer Dino Bakkar said "even if you're not drinking, it does take a level of awareness to come through the site [safely]."

Barriers at the site are intended to protect the project's workers, Bakkar said.

Common Causes of Road Construction Worker Injuries

The serious injuries sustained at the Woodmen Road project should cause motorists and road construction employees there and elsewhere to reexamine their habits. Too often, road workers are injured by drunk or speeding drivers.

Other factors accounting for injuries and fatalities among road construction workers include:

  • Distracted driving: motorists talking or texting on cellphones or otherwise not paying attention to traffic conditions and workers.
  • Improper signage/traffic control devices: signs in and around the construction site are inadequate or give incorrect or incomplete information to approaching drivers; traffic control devices such as barricades fail to block or direct traffic from vulnerable workers.
  • Inexperienced construction workers: too often, road construction workers lack the training or skills needed to safely operate machinery (many road construction injuries and fatalities are the result of incidents caused by fellow workers).
  • Defective equipment: in some cases, roadside injuries and deaths are caused by the failure of the heavy, dangerous machinery used to construct streets.

What to Look for in a Highway Construction Zone

Highway construction zones typically have a number of safety features to help protect both workers and motorists:

  • Regulatory signs, barricades and gates: inform drivers of traffic laws applying to construction sites.
  • Warning signs and object markers: these call attention to unexpected conditions or hazards at the site.
  • Guide signs: directing drivers to detours or nearby prominent destinations.
  • Flaggers: workers who use flags to direct traffic safely around their peers; flaggers are some of the most vulnerable to drivers not paying full attention.

Used properly, these safety features and measures help reduce injuries and fatalities among road construction workers.

Fair Compensation for Injured Workers

Under Colorado law, workers injured on the job are entitled to workers' compensation. If you have been injured in a road construction crash or accident, contact a Colorado workers' compensation attorney for an evaluation of the facts of your case. A workers' comp lawyer understand workers' compensation law and can help injured employees successfully navigate a complex legal system to obtain compensation for medical costs and lost wages.