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PennDOT highlights worker deaths as road repair season opens

Officials in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, took advantage of National Work Zone Awareness Week to remind motorists of the hazards faced by road workers. The acting PennDOT secretary shared data about deaths and injuries with the media, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, American Traffic Safety Services Organization and other roadwork companies.

The acting secretary said 24 people were killed in construction zone accidents in 2014. That figure was eight fatalities higher than the previous year. Going back to 1970, a total of 85 PennDOT employees have died on the job.

To increase awareness among drivers of the risks taken by road workers, the acting secretary announced a social media campaign labeled with the hashtag #Slow4Zone. Part of the campaign will include messages from employees in Pennsylvania who were injured in work-zone accidents. Additionally, the PennDOT event was used to remind motorists of the enhanced penalties enforced in work zones. A person who drives 11 mph over a posted work-zone speed limit can have his or her license suspended for 15 days.

In the event that a PennDOT employee is injured on the job, the workers' compensation system is in place to provide benefits for treatment and recovery. When someone is hurt in a construction site accident, he or she has the option of turning to an attorney for help filing a workers' compensation claim. An attorney could advise the worker on his or her rights to benefits. Difficulties meeting the filing requirements of insurance companies can also sometimes be overcome with the assistance of an attorney. When a claim is denied, an attorney might also assemble an appeal for the worker.

Source: WTAE, "PennDOT, Safety Partners Mark National Work Zone Awareness Week, Urge Safety as Construction Season Begins," March 20, 2015

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