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Worker dies in road construction zone accident

A construction zone worker was killed on eastbound I-94 near St. Clair Shores on March 10, according to authorities. The fatal accident occurred at about 8:10 a.m. when an SUV changed lanes and began to slow for traffic flow. The SUV was rear-ended by a large tractor trailer, according to reports.

The car accident caused the SUV to run into a 26-year-old road construction worker from Standish who was working for a surveying company. It then slammed into a parked pickup truck near 12 Mile Road in the construction zone. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was eventually pronounced dead. In addition to the pedestrian death, the occupants of the SUV also experienced mild trauma. Both the driver and the passenger were treated for minor injuries before being released.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokespeople said that the crash demonstrates just how vulnerable road construction workers are during their everyday activities. Although authorities say that the construction zone was well-marked with illuminated signage and other signals, traffic accidents still pose a major hazard for those working on roadside crews.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with a variety of industry interest groups, has created the alliance of Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners. Through this strategic alliance, the companies and agencies are working to improve safety in roadside construction zones, recognizing that workers in these areas can be hard to reach because of linguistic and occupational barriers.

The group is currently compiling a series of case studies for analysis so they can better understand the causes and effects of roadside work accidents. Until the roadside environment is made safer for workers, these fatal and tragic incidents are unlikely to cease.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Road worker killed in I-94 crash in St. Clair Shores," Bill Laitner, March 10, 2012

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