The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014 - (Page 16)

feature Fight for Work Zone Safety Awareness Pushes On 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. N 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 zone workers. 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. 16 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, observers say. "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 ALDOT spokesman. 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 /
Heard Along the Highway

The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014