National Work Zone Awareness week is wrapping up today after five day of events and outreach initiatives to spread the word about an important work safety agenda. Work Zone Safety refers to construction and maintenance on highways and roads, encompassing a wide range of individuals, from pedestrians and drivers to road workers, municipal employees and law enforcement.
Work Zone Safety: “We’re All In This Together”
National Work Zone Awareness Week is a collaboration between the Federal Highway Administration and ATSSA with support from organizations including Associated General Contractors and WorkZoneSafety.org, to bring awareness to the risks involved in highway work zones. In 2010, 576 workers and motorists were killed in highway work zones, a marked improvement over a 10 year period as informed drivers and state awareness programs are helping to increase safety. With road construction beginning to ramp up after the winter months, National Work Zone Awareness Week serves to remind us of the importance of caution when traveling through work zones.
Work Zone Construction Safety: An Important Agenda
National Work Zone Awareness Week was initiated in 1999 and has coincided with a reduction in work zone crashes and fatalities each year since 2002. While there is always room for additional construction safety measures and caution in work zones, statistics support the effectiveness and importance of the campaign.
- Crashes in work zones caused 720 fatalities in 2008, a 39 percent decrease from 2002, when 1,186 work zone fatalities occurred
- In 2010, 576 workers and motorists were killed in highway work zones
- Approximately 85% of work zone fatalities are drivers and their passengers
- 18%of work zone crashes injure construction workers, and 8% cause fatal injury
- 38% of highway contractors had motor vehicles crash into their construction work zones during the past year
- 45% of all work zone fatalities for 2010 were 35 years old or younger
Highway Safety Equipment and Work Zone Safety Initiatives
Since National Work Zone Awareness Week kicked off in 1999, innovation and technological developments have helped to manage injury risk associated with automobile crashes in highway work zones. Manufacturers such as Trinity Highway Products and Energy Absorption Systems produce highway crash cushions, crash rated traffic barrier, and shadow vehicle attenuator trucks to absorb and manage collision impacts. Highway safety equipment contractors such as Site-Safe Products specialize in work zone safety on highways across the country.
But the most important initiative for accident prevention is driver awareness. Products such as RoadQuake Rumble Strips help to alert drivers when workers are present. Always be mindful of work zone signage, put away any distracting devices, slow down, and observe posted speed limits when workers are present.
As National Work Zone Awareness Week reminds us, highway safety will help protect not only your family, but also the families of construction workers and municipal representatives operating in work zones.