HIGHWAY WORK ZONE SAFETY
Highway work zones are hazardous both for motorists who drive through the complex array of signs, barrels, and lane changes, and for workers who build, repair, and maintain our streets, bridges, and highways. Continue reading to learn about highway work zone deaths and safety steps.
The Federal Highway Administration reports the number of deaths in crashes that occur in work zones.
- From 1982 through 2020, 29,493 individuals (about 776 per year) lost their lives in work zone crashes.
- Since the peak year of 2002 – when 1,186 died in work zones – the number of deaths declined steadily to an average of 635 from 2008-2014, then increased to an average of 794 from 2015-2020.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports fatal injuries to workers at road construction sites.
- From 2003-2020, 2,222 workers lost their lives at road construction sites—an average of 123 per year.
- Over the 10 years from 2011-2020, Texas ranked as the state with the most worker deaths at road construction sites (143), followed by Florida (99), Pennsylvania (60), Indiana (52), Illinois (51), California (49), and Tennessee (49).
- From 2011-2020, transportation events accounted for 73% of worker deaths that occurred at road construction sites during the 10-year period (919). In 63% of these transportation events at road construction sites, the worker was struck by a vehicle (577).
- 371 of the 577 workers were struck by a forward-moving vehicle, 123 by a backing vehicle.
- Pickup trucks and SUVs accounted for 169 worker deaths at road construction sites from 2011-2018, followed by automobiles (149), machinery (146), semi-trucks (141), and dump trucks (89).
From 2011-2018, 68 percent of the workers who were killed were employed as:
- Construction laborers (253)
- Heavy and tractor trailer drivers (142)
- First-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers (96)
- Highway maintenance workers (96)
- Construction equipment operators (81)
- From 2011-2018, 864 workers killed at road construction sites worked in private-sector construction. Of those, 68% worked for either heavy and civil engineering construction companies (470) or specialty trade contractors (119).
- Over the 10 years from 2011-2018, 144 workers (14%) killed at road construction sites worked in the government sector, with roughly equal numbers working for state (73) and local governments (68).
Building Safer Highway Work Zones
Download a checklist of measures to prevent worker injuries from vehicles and equipment.
 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Report Generated: Tuesday, August 30, 2022
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics . Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2011-2020. Create customized tables.