Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Roadside construction worker deaths on the rise

Pennsylvania workers' compensation

Traffic cones

Construction accidents in Pennsylvania happen fast, but the consequences can last a lifetime. This is especially true for the workers fixing our roads, who suffer more fatalities than any other construction industry. Between 2011 and 2016, a total of 532 workers nationwide were killed working at roadside construction sites.

Going back even further, 1,269 workers have died in roadside construction accidents nationwide since 2003. Overall, that figure represents roughly 9 percent of all workplace accident fatalities each year. This is according to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, also known as CPWR.

About half of those fatalities resulted from workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment, the report states. And nearly three-fourths of the workers killed were employed in the highway, street and bridge subsector.

Other findings:

  • The number of road construction worker deaths rose to 103 in 2016 from a period-low 72 in 2013 - a 43 percent increase. This also coincides with an overall increase in car crashes during the same span.
  • Workers operating as crossing guards had the highest fatality rate, at 40.9 per 100,000. Paving and surfacing operators had a similar rate.
  • The months with the most fatal incidents were October (12.8 percent) and June (12.2 percent).
  • Increases in worker fatalities coincided with employment gains.
  • Trucks were the top source of deaths, being involved in 22 percent of these incidents.
  • Multi-purpose highway vehicles (such as pickup trucks and SUVs) were the second most common source of fatalities, causing 17.3 percent of them.

Potential solutions

Proposed ideas to make road work safer include creating more visible signage, improving barriers to the work site and the road, implementing warning systems for both drivers and workers, increased enforcement of speed limits, and using engineering controls such as closing roads or rerouting traffic when possible.

Other possible measures include:

  • Employing work zone lighting, glare-free when possible
  • Laying temporary rumble strips
  • Using dynamic speed display signs
  • Increasing police presence at work sites
  • Training workers and equipment operators to communicate with hand signals
  • Installing light strips on trucks for visibility, and using low-level lighting so that operators can see workers

All it takes is one small mistake to cause a serious roadside accident for construction workers. And when it comes to construction accidents, injuries are often life-threatening and can change family members' lives forever. With so much at stake, it's critical you have an experienced, aggressive attorney on your side, fighting for your rights. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, many families rely on the hard-working, results-driven accident attorneys at O'Malley & Langan. Contact us today.

Office Locations



201 Franklin Avenue

Scranton, PA 18503

p. 570-344-2667



9 North Main Street

Pittston, PA 18640

p. 570-883-1321



213 Main Street

Towanda, PA 18848

p. 570-265-5800