Roadway crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities.
The Tennessee Department of Safety reports that each year, more than 100 highway and street construction workers die because of vehicle crashes or equipment accidents on the job. Another 20,000 are injured in those incidents.
In January of 2006 Tommy Campbell, an employee of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, was struck by a vehicle in Decherd, Tenn. Tommy was thrown onto the hood and windshield of the car and then up into the air.
The accident required major surgery to Campbell’s left ankle and foot, including 4 pins, 2 screws and a 6 inch rod. “I was very concerned about being able to continue line work. I knew my foot was severely injured,” said Campbell. “Line work has been in my family for years. My dad was a lineman. That’s what I loved doing.”
“Drivers need to slow down when approaching work vehicles positioned on the side of the road.”
“A lot of the hazards we face are in the air, but we take precautions and have learned to protect ourselves from that. On the ground, the hazards are vehicles. We can put signs and cones out, but that is the most dangerous part of working on the side of the road.”
“Four years ago we had a vehicle, at 9:30 in the morning, come through our workzone and crash right behind the bucket truck. It almost hit two of us. It is something we are very aware of when we set up on the side of the road.”
“We have had cars come through at high rates of speed, hitting the cones we have set up and clipping the outriggers that we have down to support the trucks. I think people care, they just don’t pay attention like they should.”
Tennessee’s Move Over law was extended to protect work zones of utility workers in 2011. You can learn more about the Move Over law at moveoveramerica.com.