Remember Highway Construction Zone Safety

Highway Work Zone Safety Week wraps up soon, and OSHA and others involved in protecting highway workers want motorists to continue to drive safely through highway work zones.

Although Highway Work Zone Safety Week wraps up soon, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and others involved in protecting highway workers are asking motorists to continue to drive safely through highway work zones (and all the time, for that matter).

Near Greenwood, Miss., a highway worker was killed in a recent accident when a car struck him after skidding on an ice patch. A recent headline in an Atlanta-area newspaper said, "Truck hits DOT workers, kills one."

Monday, April 8, marked the beginning of the third annual National Highway Work Zone Safety Week, which honors those who have lost their lives in highway work zones and calls for increased awareness of safe driving in roadway work areas.

Deaths and injuries among highway workers and others in construction work zones on U.S. highways represent a growing problem, according to the Federal Highway Administration. In 2000, there were an estimated 1,093 fatalities in work zones around the country.

"Here in Mississippi, we''re responding to the growing problem of highway work zone accidents and fatalities with a special local emphasis program," said Clyde Payne, OSHA''s Jackson area director.

To prevent crashes, motorists are urged to remain alert and pay careful attention, minimize distractions, avoid changing lanes, keep up with the traffic flow, turn on headlights, avoid tailgating and speeding, expect the unexpected and be patient.

The Work Zone Safety Awareness Week Program began in December 1999 when a joint cooperative effort was formed to highlight the dangers that both workers and motorists face within highway work zones. That effort includes OSHA, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Association of General Contractors, the American Road and Transportation Builders, and more than 20 other groups.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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