National Work Zone Awareness Week
The 18th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week—themed “Work Zone Safety Is In Your Hands”—scheduled for April 3 -7, 2017, reminds all drivers to watch out for state department of transportation (DOT) and private sector employees who work within inches of their vehicles. Extra attention is required for everyone's safety.
According to the federal DOT, a “work zone is an area of a highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles.”
About 700 people, including 130 workers, are killed every year in work zone accidents. That means nearly four in five of the victims are drivers and their passengers. More than 35,000 people are injured in work zones.
This year’s awareness event, April 3-7, urges motorists to “Drive Toward Zero Crashes.” Educational focus points for this campaign, aimed at drivers, include:
- Read and follow work zone signs.
- Pay attention to other drivers.
- Stay focused, and avoid distractions such as mobile devices.
- Expect the unexpected, try to anticipate problems.
- Keep your cool. Be patient.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) works with state DOTs and other associations to promote National Work Zone Awareness Week each April—the traditional start of the busy highway construction season.
Wednesday, April 5 is Go Orange Day 2017
All roadway safety professionals across the country are encouraged to wear orange on Wednesday, April 5 to proudly show their support of work zone safety. Tweet your photos and videos on April 5 with the hashtag #orangeforsafety and tag the American Traffic Safety Services Association (@ATSSA).
When driving through work zones, even the smallest mistake can be deadly. Take a look at these numbers:
- Nationally, more than 700 people die in work zones each year.
- In 2011, there were 1,486 crashes that injured more than 680 people and resulted in the death of three.
- Four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists – not highway workers.
- Most work zone crashes are rear-end collisions.
- While most major work occurs at night, the majority of work zone crashes occur during daylight hours.
- Major contributing factors in work zone crashes include: not paying attention, going too fast for conditions, failure to yield the right-of-way and following too closely.
Work Zone Safety is Everyone's Business!
Safety training and education is one of the best ways to raise awareness about Work Zone Safety. The team at Weeklysafety.com encourages you to have a Safety Meeting or Toolbox Talk on Work Zone Safety with your crews and employees. If your teams do roadside work, then this would be a great opportunity to review safe work zone procedures. If your employees do not do roadside work, then consider having a safety meeting on tips for driving through work zones, like these listed below.
These simple tips could save your life in a work zone:
- Think Orange! When you see orange signs, cones and barrels, expect a roadside work zone ahead.
- Stay alert! Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
- Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you exactly what to expect ahead.
- Merge early. If drivers merge as soon as they see the signs, traffic will flow more smoothly.
- Slow down. You may encounter slowed or stopped traffic in an instant.
- Don’t follow too closely. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.
- Minimize distractions. Just because you might be driving slower doesn’t mean it’s a good time to check your text messages!
- Plan ahead. Expect delays and allow extra travel time. Select an alternate route if you are running late.
The leading cause of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities is contact with construction vehicles, objects, and equipment. These injuries and deaths are preventable through a number of good practices. As our highway infrastructure ages, many transportation agencies are focusing on rebuilding and improving existing roadways. This means more roadwork is being performed on roadways that are open to traffic. At the same time, traffic continues to grow and create more congestion, particularly in urban areas. To avoid major queues during peak travel periods, urban areas are seeing more night work. The combination of more work done alongside increasingly heavier traffic and greater use of night work can result in increased safety considerations for highway workers. However, there are regulations and available resources on good practices that can help workers perform their jobs safely.
For more information visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s Work Zone Management Program to find a lot of great resources to improve your work zone safety program.
For more information and resources on this year’s NWZAW campaign, click the links below:
Click the button below to download a free poster, fast facts, statistics and tips for this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign.
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