A safe zone for everyone

April 4-8 is National Work Zone awareness Week 2011, and I wish its sponsors would extend the observance to a month. It seems like during every construction season, I turn on the local news and hear a story about a roadway worker being struck by a vehicle in a work zone. One that has stuck with me detailed a horrific incident in nearby northwest Indiana last year in which a motorist speeding through a work zone struck a construction worker with such force that the worker’s body crashed through the windshield and landed on top of the driver. Chances are good you have heard equally disturbing stories in the state where you live.

Driving the posted speed limit in a work zone is not always easy; in my experience, doing so pretty much guarantees a full view of the vehicle behind me and its impatient driver in my rearview mirror. I have been the object of extreme tailgating, angry gestures, and aggressive NASCAR-like swerving back and forth by motorists young and old. Sometimes it takes effort to keep my cool.

I am not going to preach to the choir by asking safety professionals to slow down and stay observant to help keep roadway work zones safe, but I hope you will use some of the free resources available on the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse website (www.workzonesafety.org) to pass that message on to your employees. The Federal Highway Administration’s most recent data shows that in 2009, 667 workers and motorists were killed in highway work zones. Please remind your employees that when they enter a construction zone, they are in someone else’s workplace; and the efforts they make to keep themselves and their co-workers safe on the job should be extended to the drive home.

The opinions expressed in "Editor's Note" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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