ASSE Targets No. 1 Cause of On-the-job Deaths

The west coast members of the American Society of Safety Engineers are\r\nlaunching an information blitz this week to combat the No.1 cause of on-the-job deaths -- roadway crashes.

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Roadway crashes are the No. 1 cause of on-the-job deaths in the United States. To combat this, especially with this Memorial Day Weekend marking the beginning of the summer travel season, west coast members of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) are launching an information blitz this week on Interstate 5 (I-5) from the Canadian boarder to the Mexico boarder, providing the public with safe driving information.

On Friday, May 25, from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., ASSE members will be distributing posters and brochures at the Northbound I-5 Baldock Rest Area located one mile south of the Willamette River.

At more than 20 rest and truck stops throughout Oregon, Washington and California, ASSE has set up posters and arranged for the distribution of free brochures aimed at educating drivers about driving safely around work zones, trucks, buses, RV''s and other cars.

"Roadway crashes continue to be the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities in this country. We wanted to reeducate the public on important safety information so we can at least help prevent needless accidents and injuries," said Barbara Aguon, incoming ASSE Columbia-Willamette Chapter president and Portland Parks & Recreation safety manager. "Roadway crashes account for one-fourth of the fatal work injury total. With Memorial Day ahead of us to educate as much of the motoring public as possible and what better way to do it than at rest and truck stops on the interstate."

The free ASSE brochure provides information on how to safety drive around work zones; tips on sharing the road safely with commercial vehicles; and important vehicle passenger safety information such as how to select a booster seat for children passengers.

"Getting the word out is important to us, especially at the highway rest and truck stops, because the majority of fatal work zone crashes (71 percent) of all vehicles occur on roads with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or greater," said Aguon. "Roads are much more congested these days and with the summer construction on the roadways take that extra step and be cautious and mindful of the rules of the road. If not, you could become yet another statistic."

Each year, on-the-job traffic crashes cause 3,000 deaths, 332,000 injuries and cost employers more than $43 billion, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures, ranging from about $22,000 per rash and $110,000 per injury.

"At the same time ASSE continues to urge occupational safety and health professionals to include traffic safety programs within their organization and guidelines for both on- and off-the-job traffic and motor vehicle operations and conditions," said Brian Clarke, CSP, ASSE Region I vice president and Hoffman Construction Co. safety director. "Everyone should make sure they are paying attention while driving and to be mindful of all roadway hazards."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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