The paving and pavement maintenance season is kicking into high gear – and there’s reason to be concerned. That’s because more crews – your crews – are now more exposed to more traffic in more work zones. The Federal Highway Administration notes that roughly 800 people are killed and 42,000 injured each year in work zones….in 2017 that worked out to a work zone crash every 5.4 minutes. And while the vast majority of those incidents occur in road projects, drivers are notorious for ignoring cones, tape and barricades on parking lots, too.
According to a recent Wakefield Research study conducted for Root Insurance:
- 52% of drivers say they would divert attention from driving to check out a group chat
- 33% would divert for social media and memes
- 18% would divert to watch streaming video (15% of Millennials have, compared to 9% of Gen X, and 1% of Boomers)
- 18% groom themselves while driving
- 13% play with a pet
- 12% change clothes
There’s more but you get the idea. A good place to start to make sure your work zones are as safe as they can be is the American Traffic Safety Services Association’s free Work Zone Safety App. It enables you to design your work zone to match the specifics of each job, outlines how to set that work zone up (and remove it) safely, and how to maintain it should the job last multiple days. And while we don’t know of an app for parking lot work zones, it’s important to not skimp on any traffic control devices that will protect your off-road workers by alerting drivers and redirecting them. You need to clearly mark your territory.
Just as important, make sure your crew takes seriously the dangers to which they’re exposed. Safety vests are a must, safety meetings at the jobsite are essential when starting a new job – as are daily safety reminders for longer projects. And remind workers that complacency can lead to injury: Oftentimes crew members become so comfortable working in a “protected” area that they “forget” about the potential dangers.
A properly set-up work zone can help responsible drivers make the correct, safe decisions. And by making your workers aware, you help them protect themselves from the drivers who take their group chat more seriously than their driving.