The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014 - (Page 16)
By William E. Thompson
Editor's note: This is Part 2 of an article focusing on Alabama's safety efforts of road construction zones for workers.
ext March road builders, state
transportation officials, federal
workplace regulators and business
leaders will join forces to call attention
to the hazards faced by construction
They will participate in the National
Work Zone Safety Awareness Week,
and playing an integral part will be the
Alabama Struck-By Alliance, a group
that has toiled from more than decade
to promote safety.
Charlotte Kopf, the Alliance chairwoman and manager of the Alabama
Associated General Contractors Mobile
section, said some work-zone accidents
years ago illustrated how dire the situation was, and started a conversation
that has intensified the need to educate
workers and drivers on how to be safer
around construction projects.
Perhaps no public awareness campaign was as effective as that involving the former crewman who was
struck after a driver plowed into a barricade and began sharing his experience,
which included spending a few months
in a coma.
While she believes the efforts of the
Alliance, which formally came together in
2003, have paid off, Kopf wonders if the
message will ever get completely through.
"I think it has made progress," she said of
the drive to stem the workers' injury toll.
"If we can save one life, we've done a lot."
"I don't know what else we could do
to educate them, but we have to push it
harder than we have to get the word out,"
Kopf added. "It's just terrible what goes
on out there."
Alabama Department of Transportation
statistics show that from 2010 through
2013, there were 493 work-zone crashes
on Alabama highways. Those accidents
led to 3,243 injuries and 86 fatalities.
Ninety-nine percent of the reported
injuries and 95 percent of the deaths were
to drivers and their passengers. Thus,
keeping drivers aware of work zones is
as much for their own self-preservation
as it is for the safety of the workers,
"The very nature of what we do has
some inherent risks, and there are times
when you have to work in lanes and keep
traffic flowing. We recognize the risks
are there, but work zone safety starts
with the driver," said Tony Harris, the
Fifteen years ago, the Federal Highway
Administration, the American Traffic
Safety Services Association and the
American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials picked up on
a safety program launched in 1997 in a
part of southwest Virginia and turned it
into the National Work Zone Awareness
Week - an annual public service campaign that takes place each April.
The event is the impetus for the AGCA
yearly survey of work-zone crashes, each
edition of which also encompasses the
tailored results of a handful of individual
states. This year, that included Alabama.
The idea is to use a broad-based multimedia blitz to remind drivers about
exercising extra caution in work zones.
ALDOT's Harris said the state's
annual observance is typically followed with periodic reminders delivered through a billboard campaign, radio
public service announcements, articles
and broadcasts reported by local media
and other activities.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014
New Legislature Poised to Tackle Old Issue
New Year Offers Challenges, Opportunities for Industry
2014 Annual Luncheon Highlights
Fall Golf Tournament 2014
The Ed & Charlotte Rodgers Scholarship Fund
Fight for Work Zone Safety Awareness Pushes On
Let’s Reform the Clean Air Act
ALDOT Launches ‘drive Safe Alabama’
Alabama Guardrail, Inc.
Products and Services Marketplace
Index to Advertisers / advertisers.com
Heard Along the Highway
The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014