This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a campaign designed to educate drivers and construction workers alike about the dangers associated with work zones. Local, state and federal transportation officials observe this week in April as this is the start of highway construction season across most of the country.
A Costly Mistake
The theme for 2014 is “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake.” Indeed, it is a costly mistake, and not just for the workers themselves. In 2012 there were 609 traffic-related fatalities in US work zones, which is 19 more compared to 590 deaths in 2011. However, most work zone fatalities are the drivers and their occupants (usually 85-90%) while the workers and other bystanders, such as pedestrians and cyclists, account for 10-15% of these deaths.
This year’s theme points to the fact that speeding is a major contributing factor of these work zone crashes, and was involved in more than 1 out of 3 fatal construction/maintenance zone crashes that occurred in 2011. Signs – like the one above from MySafetySign – encourage drivers to drive at a responsible speed in work zones.
Construction Work Zone Safety Resources
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) website can direct you to many excellent resources for workers themselves, and resources for the companies who are responsible for ensuring their safety. Examples include this eye-catching “Know Flagging” Poster which illustrates six procedures for safe flagging in work zones.
Ensuring proper training for your construction employees on safe work procedures is crucial to preventing future incidents, as is learning from past incidents and near-misses. Intelex’s safety solutions for training management and incident management have helped hundreds of companies ensure the safety of their workers.