Georgia’s roadway work zones can be dangerous job environments. As noted in a GDOT Work Zone Fact Sheet posted by the Associated General Contractors of Georgia, a high percentage of the many workers struck by moving vehicles while on the job are members of cleanup and utility crews, construction workers and emergency responders.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, work-zone crashes have shown a steady increase. Almost 21,000 crashes occurred in Georgia’s roadway job sites in 2017. Driver impairment and distraction were contributing causes for many of the incidents.
Crashes taking place in Georgia’s roadway work zones resulted in more than 7,000 injuries in 2017. In the most recent available yearly statistics, the Federal Highway Administration reported more than 35,000 injuries occurred in roadway job sites across the nation in 2015.
Steps toward worker and driver safety awareness
As noted by the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA, the 20th annual Safety Stand Down took place in April during National Highway Work Zone Awareness Week. During the one-hour stand down, which took place at more than 1,400 job sites across the U.S., employers and their employees reviewed and discussed safety practices and the dangers faced by roadway workers.
As noted on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety web page, the Peach State enacted its Move Over Law in response to reports showing passing traffic can hit parked emergency vehicles even when the emergency lights are flashing. The law requires drivers in the lane next to the shoulder who are approaching any roadway or emergency workers or their parked vehicles to move over one lane. When not possible, drivers must be ready to stop their vehicles and also reduce their speed to below the posted limit.
Workers’ compensation for on-the-job roadway injuries
Georgia roadway workers injured while on the job may receive compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages. The workers’ comp insurance plan covers a wide range of injuries and illnesses as long as they are job-related. Although workers’ comp issues can become complicated, there are approaches to filing a complex claim that may allow for full compensation.