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Safety Should Be a Priority for Construction Workers in MA

Following the death of a construction worker in a highway work zone, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is working to reassure the public that safety is its top priority. Construction workers, especially in work zones, risk death on a daily basis due to the nature of their work. Many types of construction accidents can be prevented, though, by better enforcement of safety regulations.

Work Zone Accident

During the deployment of safety devices that protect highway engineers during bridge inspections, an unnamed construction worker was killed. The worker fell 60 feet off of an overpass on I-91 during the evening shift and died instantly. While the company contracted to do the work had been hired for 55 other MassDOT projects in the past, the agency promises it will make any necessary changes to improve work zone safety if violations or lapses are uncovered during the investigation into the worker’s death.

Construction Accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 774 out of the 4,206 – or 18.7 percent – worker deaths that occurred in 2010 were in the construction industry. Out of the 774 construction-related fatalities, 264, or 34 percent, were from falls. Electrocutions, being struck by objects or equipment and being caught in or between objects were also major causes of construction worker deaths. Better safety measures to reduce or eliminate the threat of these top four factors would prevent 437 workers from perishing on the job each year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides safety regulations and advice for both employers and employees. In addition to its work zone regulations, OSHA also recommends that workers follow safety tips to further ensure their safety. Workers should wear high-visibility vests, as well as hard hats, and be trained in how to safely set up work zones, operate equipment and flag other workers or drivers through or around the site. Workers should also ensure that proper signage and barriers exist to prevent harm.

Priority of Safety

Whether or not MassDOT ends up reworking or improving its work zone safety requirements following the investigation of the recent construction worker death, safety should always be a priority. Both employers and workers should understand and follow OSHA and other work zone safety regulations as well as be on the look-out for work zone violations by workers and drivers in and around the sites. So many work zone deaths are preventable, but there are cases where accidents happen despite appropriate application of safety measures and controls.

If you are a Massachusetts construction worker who was recently injured in a work zone accident, or the family member of a loved one who died from injuries sustained in a work zone incident, contact a Massachusetts construction accident attorney right away. A lawyer with experience handling cases that deal with both personal injury and workers’ compensation issues will be able to help you get the compensation you deserve to become whole again following such a tragic accident.