Avoiding Fatalities: Three Construction Workers Killed After Being Struck by a Bus in a Highway Work Zone

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Summary Statement

This animated video was based on a NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) accident report (specifically, taken from FACE summary – New York Case Report 05NY039). The video follows the course of the accident and subsequent fatality, and provides recommendations designed to control or eliminate the identified risk.

On May 20, 2005, three male construction workers, employed by a paving company, sustained fatal injuries when they were struck by a passenger bus in a highway work zone. The work zone, located in the southbound lane of a four lane divided interstate highway, was demarcated by the required orange traffic cones and warning signs. The southbound driving lane was closed and the passing lane was open to traffic. At approximately 10:00 a.m., a southbound charter bus passed multiple warning signs as it approached the work zone. The bus driver attempted to brake approximately 0.2 miles south of the beginning of the work zone and move left, partially onto the median’s shoulder, in an attempt to avoid striking the slowing vehicles ahead. Unable to move to the shoulder, the bus struck a motorcycle, hit the curb on the east side of the bridge, returned to the southbound passing lane and struck the rear of a tractor trailer. The bus entered the work zone and struck the three victims who were working at the rear of a cement truck. After hitting the victims, the bus struck the cement truck in the rear bumper. The bus and the cement truck traveled together for 51 to 58 feet and collided with a parked, unoccupied pickup truck. Immediately following the incident, the site supervisor called 911 to summon emergency medical services (EMS) who arrived at the site within minutes. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two victims were transported to a hospital where they both died. Two cement company employees and a NYSDOT inspector suffered minor injuries while escaping the collision. They were treated and released. The motorcyclist and six bus passengers were treated for injuries at a local hospital. The bus driver sustained critical injuries, was hospitalized, and later recovered.

The video was created by ARTBA as a part of the FHWA Cooperative Agreement DTFH61-11-H-00029 and the OSHA Cooperative Agreement SH-24861-13-60-F-11. More FACE reports can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/.
April 2, 2015