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A look at the numbers

Now that winter has finally faded away, the sounds of spring and summer can be heard. Birds chirping, children playing outdoors and of course, the noise of road construction crews.

With road construction season comes dangers to the workers toiling to upgrade roads, streets and highways in and around Newburgh.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at the grim numbers that piled up between 2003 and 2010, when nearly 1,000 workers were killed at roadside construction sites. Almost half of the victims were the result of a motor vehicle or construction equipment hitting the worker.

In each of the years studied, the death toll topped 100, for a total of 962 workers killed. The severity of the problem is made more glaring when you add to the total the more than 7,000 deaths of motorists killed in crashes and collisions at the construction sites over that same period.

The workers killed over those years were overwhelmingly male, salaried employees. The age group that had the most fatalities (267) was comprised of workers ages 45 to 54. The second highest total was among workers 35 to 44 (225 deaths) and then workers 55 to 64 (168).

While many of the fatalities involved vehicles or equipment hitting the worker (443), there were also many killed in "highway incidents" (244). Also on the list: 51 workers killed when struck by falling objects and 39 who died as a result of contact with electrical current.

Let us all slow down on the highways and byways, so that you, your passengers and those who are working to improve our roads are safer. In that way we can reduce work-related injuries and senseless fatalities.

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