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Summer construction accidents in Ohio: Emphasis turns to roadways

The specter of a serious or fatal construction accident in Ohio often relates to what might happen — most often through negligence — at a building site where workers are at risk of an equipment accident, a fall or scaffolding accident, electrical or burn injuries, a trench cave or similarly dangerous condition.

In Ohio, though, and especially during the summer months, commercial and residential construction projects are somewhat displaced as potential venues for workplace injuries by another high-risk accident area, namely, Ohio streets and highways.

In what a writer in a recent news article calls “these ugly statistics,” reference is made to some truly startling numbers relating to accidents befalling construction workers engaged in projects on state roadways.

What jumps out most strongly is the report that 17 people died in Ohio last year in accidents that occurred in road construction areas. An estimated 1,300 people — construction workers and motorists — were injured in work-zone mishaps, of which some 5,000 occurred.

That level of injury outcome is truly something to think about, both for drivers and for workers engaged in road construction work zones.

Obviously, driver negligence is most often the culprit in precipitating dangerous conditions and adverse outcomes. Ergo, the emphasis on elevated fines for infractions — most notably, speeding — that raise injury risks.where construction workers are present.

There is an obvious onus on road workers to take maximum precautions, such as wearing highly visible clothing, shielding themselves physically from vehicles and remaining ever vigilant while working.

As for drivers, the yearly tips and recommendations are well-known mantras that stress the commonplace and logical. Slow down. Get off the phone. Stop eating, grooming and fidgeting with various dials and tech gadgets.

And tailgate at your peril. In most instances, Ohio’s assured clear distance law will hold liable a driver who hits another vehicle from behind. If that occurs in a construction work zone and contributes to personal injury, the exactions are likely to be even greater.

Source: The Legal Examiner, “The dreaded construction zone,” Owen Coughlin Jr., July 6, 2012