On Friday, August 9, 2002, a 26-year-old technical sales representative employed by a highway traffic management firm was struck and killed by a passenger vehicle while setting up a highway work zone warning device. The victim and her partner were working on the shoulder of a six-lane interstate highway. The shoulder was 11 feet wide where they were working. A guardrail was placed at its edge to prevent cars from driving over the drop off onto the embankment. The workers were therefore constrained from moving farther away from the moving traffic. Several areas of signage identifying the work zone were in place before the work zone including one approximately one-quarter of a mile before the area where they were working. An electronic message board, message side facing traffic, was mounted on the back of a trailer. The victim, on the hitch side of the electronic message board, had plugged her laptop computer into the board to check the calibration of the "Do Not Pass" message. She was positioned with her back to oncoming traffic. The company vehicle in which she and her co-worker had driven to the site was parked a slight distance beyond her. A car swerved off the road onto the shoulder striking the sign, trailer, and workers. The victim was crushed between the message board trailer and the company vehicle. Her co-worker was propelled 50 feet from the point of impact down the embankment and received serious injuries to his legs, pelvis, hands and face. He was hospitalized in critical condition. He is continuing to recover from his injuries. Recommendations: 1. Employers/highway construction contractors should develop and implement an accident prevention plan prior to beginning a construction project that addresses specific worksite hazards and how to minimize or eliminate them. 2. A truck-mounted attenuator should be placed in the proper position to protect traffic control installers working on road shoulders from high-speed traffic when they are setting up signals. 3. Employers/highway construction contractors should use traffic control variable message boards that can be programmed in advance or programmed from a remote location, so they can be put into position with minimum time spent in close proximity to high-speed traffic flow. 4. All entities concerned with work zone worker safety including the Department of Transportation, Traffic Enforcement, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) should continue their efforts to remind drivers of their responsibility to proceed through highway work zones attentively and according to the posted signs.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Construction; Construction-workers; Road-construction; Motor-vehicles