Asphalt Pavement Magazine - November/December 2015 - (Page 38)

A Fresh Perspective on Safety Saving lives and reducing financial risk By Brad Sant I magine this scenario: dozens of people are required to focus on a series of complicated tasks within a few feet of a roadway where automobiles and trucks pass by at high speeds. The group is protected by only a few pieces of orange and white plastic. This scene often takes place at night, when the passing motorists have impaired vision. Such risk sounds unconscionable, possibly illegal. Yet we accept it all the time with few reservations because of the importance of maintaining our transportation network. Perhaps it is time to look at this work with a fresh perspective. too Many DeathS anD InjurIeS Two roadway construction or maintenance workers are killed on the job every week. Another 30 workers are injured every day. These figures, based on annual averages, tend to increase during the busy warm-weather road construction and repair season. Deaths and injuries in the road construction industry come at a high cost. Those costs are measured not only in pain and suffering by the victims and their loved ones, but also in losses to our industry that can be quantified in dollars. As noted above, each year on average approximately 100 workers in our industry are killed, and 10,000 more are injured. These deaths and injuries cost the industry more than a half billion dollars annually, according to data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Each death in the construction industry costs $4 million in direct and indirect expenses; each injury resulting in lost work days costs $42,000.1 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently put the cost of each worker fatality at $8.7 million (value of statistical life) and each injury at $62,000. That's a lot of money. And there are potential additional costs, such as from lawsuits, or reputational damage that could make it more 38 * View past issues online at difficult to secure new business or retain skilled workers. What Can Be Done? What can be done to reduce the toll of human tragedy and financial risks? I believe the first step is to take one of the most significant hazards and focus on finding a remedy. One of the first hazards I would address is to eliminate motorist intrusions into work zones, where a driver leaves the traffic lanes, crosses into the work area, and kills or injures one or more construction workers. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently reported there were 129 deaths in highway, street, and bridge construction from FY2011 to FY2012. 2 In 39 instances, the victim was struck by an errant driver who left the travel lanes and ran over a worker. In other words, nearly one-third of roadway worker deaths are caused by motorists who may be impaired, distracted, tired or even belligerent as they

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Asphalt Pavement Magazine - November/December 2015

President’s Perspective
Industry News
Winning the Race Track Challenge
Investigating the Keys to Japanese RAP Success
A Fresh Perspective on Safety
Traffic Management and the Work Zone
2016 Annual Meeting Preview
Calendar of Events
Index of Advertisers/

Asphalt Pavement Magazine - November/December 2015