A strange incident has occurred in Michigan where a construction worker had to be hospitalised after an incident involving a bus and a crane. The incident happened as the worker was operating in a cordoned off section of the road. This incident is a reminder that even when wearing PPE, workers are still at risk of injury. PPE may reduce the injury but they should not be the only control measure in place because the worker involved sustained head injuries regardless of the fact that he was wearing a safety helmet. This incident brings road construction under the spotlight once again as this post on Michigan’s MLive.com highlights:
WARREN, MI — A construction worker is hospitalized in critical condition after an “unusual” accident involving a bus Friday morning, according to the Warren Police Department.
Jason Carey, 41, the victim, was moving a 36-foot-long metal handrail in the curb lane that was blocked off for construction workers, Warren police say.
As he turned with the rail, it stuck into northbound Ryan near Chicago and was struck by a Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) bus, launching Carey into a “large crane that was fixed to the ground for bridge repairs,” Warren police said.
“Mr. Carey was wearing a helmet but suffered a severe head injury and was transported by Warren Fire Rescue to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where he is in critical condition,’ Warren police said in a release issued Friday.
Carey works for Diponio Contracting of Shelby Township. The bus transported four passengers who were uninjured.
This incident highlights the fact that even road construction workers need to be vigilant and safety conscious, even more so than workers on a traditional building site. A building site is separated from the public and most people on the site are aware of the dangers present and how to conduct themselves in a way that does not endanger themselves or others. This is not so on road construction sites because most often the public are not aware of the danger they place workers lives in because they have not undergone safety training like workers have. Also they are often impatient and their only concern is getting out of the traffic caused by the road construction, so they pay little if any attention to road safety at this point.
Signage is important on roadway construction sites and drivers need to obey them. Those undertaking the construction must ensure these signs are adequately visible, clean and well maintained and positioned so that drivers can see them in time. Workers should also be wearing the appropriate visible PPE however as this incident proves, even PPE are not 100 per cent fail safe.
The main areas of attention that road construction requires are, advanced warning for passing motorists, sufficient and appropriately positioned signage, high visibility clothing for workers, pathways for road users and work zone delineation and work zone separation from passing traffic.
The other dangers that are presented to road construction workers are the machinery on the site, that may not be part of the workers tasks but the worker should still be trained on its safe use and how they should operate safely in its vicinity. In the case above the crane was not being used by the worker but he was still flung into it, causing him to be injured. Workers cannot afford to adopt a relaxed attitude towards safety on any construction site.