Could a 'blind zone' put you at risk on a roadside work site?

Working construction is dangerous -- but working roadside construction can seem doubly so. Not only do you have to worry about the ordinary hazards of a construction job -- like cave-ins and falling equipment -- but you have to worry about all the passing motorists moving around the site.

On top of it all, the construction site probably shifts a bit almost daily, which means that commuters are never quite sure what to expect. They're on edge. You're on edge. Accidents are bound to happen.

Well, there are some ways to reduce the number of roadside construction site injuries and deaths. One of those ways is by being aware of -- and reducing (whenever possible) -- the blind areas around the various piece of construction equipment. These blind areas are the spots that are invisible from the perspective of the equipment's operator.

Each piece of construction equipment has three different blind areas -- and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has made diagrams available for use that are designed to help workers understand where their blind areas are on any given piece of equipment.

The diagrams show the operator's ability to see an object at ground level, at three feet of height (the average height of a construction barrel and other channelizing devices) and at just under five feet (in order to recognize where the operator might not be able to see a person). These diagrams are provided free of charge to be used as training aids.

You can't do much about the traffic around you on a roadside construction site. You can, however, take charge of the problem areas within your control. To reduce errors, insist that machine operators have proper training and understand their visual limitations before they get in motion.

If you were injured in a construction accident, don't forget that workers' compensation is designed to assist you. If you're having trouble claiming your due, an attorney can help you better understand your legal rights. If your claim was denied, an attorney may be able to guide you through the appeals process.

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