With the weather warming up, work crews will be heading out to make repairs on roadways in Denver and throughout the state of Colorado. All the heavy machinery and hot mix can make road work a dangerous job.
But, road workers' biggest risk of work injury doesn't come from within the crew - it comes from other drivers on the road.
Last year in Colorado, 10 people were killed and another 96 were injured in work zone motor vehicle accidents. Nationwide, work zone accidents claimed 600 lives and injured 37,000.
This week, the Colorado Department of Transportation, along with DOTs throughout the country, is observing "National Work Zone Awareness Week" in an effort to draw attention to the dangers of work zone accidents.
On Tuesday, CDOT held its annual Remembrance Day ceremonies to pay tribute to the 58 employees who have died in the line of duty.
CDOT is also asking motorists to do their part to prevent work zone accidents. Most accidents happen because drivers aren't paying attention or looking out for construction workers when they enter a cone zone. Speeding and drunk driving only make the problem worse.
All drivers need to remember to slow down and pay attention when entering a work zone, especially at night or in inclement weather.
Road workers who are injured in a motor vehicle accident can seek Colorado workers' compensation benefits to pay for their medical treatment and lost wages.
In addition, third party liability is often available in work zone accidents. In third party liability cases, the worker can bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver in addition to recovering workers' compensation benefits. In those lawsuits, workers can seek more comprehensive reimbursement of their financial losses, as well as damages for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.
Source: Fox 31, "CDOT: Drive Safely as More 'Cone Zones' Appear," Jon Bowman, April 24, 2012.