The good news is that it appears as though the nation's economy is on its way to recovery. Some states, such as North Carolina, have seen a steady increase in development that includes breaking ground on new buildings and infrastructure. In some cases, the contractors are struggling to hire enough hands to complete the jobs on time.
So, what is the bad news? In an odd twist of prosperity and progress, the low jobless rate could contribute to a rise in job-related accidents, especially as roadway construction increases.
North Carolina hires new construction workers
Among the construction industry, workers often flock to high-rise building jobs in favor of the long-term job placement and a more stable working environment. This can leave large public works projects struggling when trying to hire enough manpower to repave roads, repair bridges and even complete simple maintenance tasks.
In some instances, this results in more inexperienced construction workers being assigned to the dangerous work environment of the state's roads and highways.
The training curve is steep: inexperience can increase the risk of accidents
If the new employees have never worked in a situation with cars flying by at 55 mph, there can be a steep learning curve. The workers need to understand and implement the safety procedures required to handle the heavy equipment while watching their backs for other dangers at the same time - like those cars that speed past.
Nighttime work on urban highways only adds another factor, another level to the risks these workers face. The bright gas lamps can act to blind a worker, creating an unsafe situation in the shadows.
As these new workers try to acclimate themselves to the demands of their new positions and the high-speed dangers passing them on the road, the number of job-site injuries can rise. While a more seasoned construction worker is often better able to keep an eye on the variety of threats in the area, even they cannot reduce all of the risk.
Distracted driving doesn't help
Construction might cause delays and frustrations for drivers, but those pain points are temporary. When construction workers get hit by a passing vehicle, those injuries can last forever.
Drivers need to give their full attention to their surroundings, especially near construction sites where men and women diligently work to repair the roads on which you travel every day. Texting, placing calls, finding a new playlist or even accessing the navigation system can take a your attention off the road long enough to crash through a protective barrier and into new construction workers who may not be able to see your car coming.
Give those new workers a break. Lock up your phone in the glove box when you get behind the wheel, and start seeing construction workers when driving to your summer vacation destination.