Incidents Lead to Concerns Over Safety in Work Zones | NECN


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Incidents Lead to Concerns Over Safety in Work Zones




    For the third time in a matter of days, a suspected drunk driver is accused of hitting a worker in a work zone on a Massachusetts roadway.

    The rash of incidents, including the latest Thursday morning in Raynham, has safety advocates calling for more protection at construction sites across the state.

    "It's very troubling, very troubling for sure out on the roadways," Jonathan Darling of the Bristol County Sheriff's office said. "There are people working and sometimes they have very little protection."

    Thursday, a Bristol County Sheriff's van was hit while Deputy Patricia Allen was working a detail on Rt. 24 in Raynham. The driver was charged and she was able to walk away from the scene, but the crash happened just two days after a highway worker lost his life on I-93 in Medford. Police say Tom O'Day was also hit by a drunk driver.

    Monday, a MassDOT worker was hit near the Ted Williams Tunnel by a driver who was also charged with operating under the influence.

    The disturbing trend has advocates at the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health concerned.

    "We really need to think about what we can do to protect these workers because not only are workers lives being lost, families are being shattered," Jeffrey Newton of MassCOSH said.

    So far in 2016, 11 workers have been killed in transportation-related incidents, according to MassCOSH.

    It is why they say barriers might be a good idea.

    "There needs to be some kind of object between and the vehicles that can absorb the mechanical energy that a vehicle can produce," Newton said.

    Safety advocates also question if police details need to be required at all work zones. There was not one present when the worker was hit and killed in Medford. MassDOT said that the job was in a low-risk location, and that cones, warning zones and two trucks mounted with arrow boards were used.

    MassCOSH says they will be monitoring the OSHA reports for all of the incidents, and will make specific recommendations on how to improve safety based on what comes out of them.

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