The 2014 fiscal year marks the completion of MAP 21, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The act provides funding for surface transportation programs and has been a landmark achievement for improvements in infrastructure and safety in the United States.
The Federal Highway Administration published an update to the status of MAP 21 activities in October in preparation for the coming year. MAP 21 is set to end in September 2014. The following summary highlights the achievements of the program, with respect to topics relevant to highway construction, the trucking industry, and work zone safety.
National Highway Performance Program
Surface Transportation Program
Emergency Relief Program
Appalachian Development Highway System
Territorial and Puerto Rico Highways
Guidance on infrastructure topics:
National Highway System design standards
Construction management/general contractor contracting method
Buy America (including impact on utility relocations)
Stewardship and oversight
Collection of element-level bridge data
Interstate access justifications
Strategy, schedule, and outreach on performance management
Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on National Tunnel Inspection Standards
Guidance and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on value engineering
Guidance on safety programs and related topics:
Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) eligibility and reporting
Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)
High Risk Rural Roads
State safety data systems
Penalty transfer provisions
Older road users
Process for development of National Freight Network
Guidance on freight-related topics:
Higher Federal share for freight projects
State freight advisory committees and plans
Guidance and best practices re: special permits in emergencies
The national initiative to improve fall protection measures has been a topic that we have touched on in various posts throughout 2013. The statistics are eye opening: In 2012, Falls killed more than 1 construction worker every 2 days, and the trend continues to grow. Have a look at our newest infographic to consider the need for Construction Fall Protection and get started implementing work safety policies to reduce your risk.
Falls in construction are a well known cause of work injury. A common misconception is that fall injuries are primarily of concern to individuals that work at heights. This is not an accurate representation of the danger presented by slips, trips, and falls, even at minimal height. In heavy and highway construction, also known as horizontal construction, falls account for approximately 25% of workers compensation claims. These consist of falls from trucks, trailers, and construction equipment (45%); ladders, stairs, and scaffolding (20%); and walking or working surfaces (5%). Fortunately, a recent national focus on fall prevention has raised awareness of the issue and improved the quality of resources available to safety professionals. Resources are published daily at sites like OSHA’s Stop Falls Initiative, CDC’s Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction, and StopConstructionFalls.com in support of this important work safety trend.
As a leading cause of injury in the workplace, the risk of falls from trucks, trailers, and equipment is an important hazard for which to mitigate risk. Communicating the need to maintain three points of contact, wear proper footwear, and clean debris from ladders and steps is a good first step. For many types of equipment, upgrading to access ladders that provide three points of contact and durable weight support can provide additional injury risk management. United Rentals is one example of a company that has provided a Safety Best Practice document recommending all employees at their 800+ locations upgrade to the Trucker portable side truck mount ladder. The Trucker ladder provides 3 points of contact, ANSI rated weight support, and slip resistant tread in a sturdy, lightweight design.
Indirect Costs from Fall Injuries
It is important to remember the indirect costs of work injuries when considering falls from minimal heights. It is easy to take for granted the risk of a fall from a 4′ flatbed trailer, particularly under the stress of work timelines. Nevertheless, while these may not always be a fatality risk, the consequences of a work injury extends far beyond broken bones and injury claims. Individuals can suffer long term complications that affect their ability to work and your company’s ability to excel. Even when injuries are minor, your company’s workers’ comp EMR (Experience Modifier Rate) is affected, causing insurance rates to go up and potentially limiting your ability to win valuable contracts. Clearly, the national focus on construction fall protection is a worthy cause for the sake of workers and the industries that employ them.
In Washington and across the country, the SHARP program is helping to bring awareness to trucking industry work injury risks, via the TIRES (Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis) initiative. SHARP (Safety & Health Assessment and Research for Prevention) is an established Washington State Department of Labor & Industries program focused on research and response to occupational safety and health issues across industries and disciplines.
With additional support from NIOSH, the TIRES program maintains a website and social media presence, provides training materials and reports, and conducts interviews and surveys with members of management and labor teams in industry.
Non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, back and upper extremity.
Slips, trips and falls.
Injuries from getting struck by or against an object.
These conditions comprise 71% of the industry’s workers’ compensation claims, costs and lost workdays.
The trucking work injury prevention resources available at the TIRES website is a smorgasbord for safety professionals and industry members across the country. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries also conveniently ties together reports and publications in an encyclopedia-like layout that provides everything you need to develop safety programs, research risk areas, and gather case studies for reporting.
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.
The National Bureau of Labor’s 2011 Census of Occupational Injuries brought to light a theme that occupational safety management professionals have observed for years: Slips & Falls are a leading cause of occupational injuries. Combined with Roadway Incidents, the two categories make up over a third of all fatal occupational injuries. Trucking, Transportation & Warehousing is the industry sector with the most fatal work injuries and a Top 3 work injury rate. Safety professionals in these industries should consider leading fall protection risk areas and consider mitigation tactics for each.
Sounds easy, right? Have a look at our premier infographic ‘Slips & Falls in Trucking’ to see this concept illustrated for painless consumption.