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Roadway Work Zone Tragedies Can Be Prevented, American Society of Safety Engineers Say, Especially This Independence Day

Posted in on Thu, Jul 3, 2008

Des Plaines, IL (July 3, 2008) — As transportation accidents are still the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S., the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) encourage employers, workers and motorists to be aware of roadway work zone safety rules in an effort to prevent tragedy this Independence Day weekend and throughout the summer.

“July 4th is an American holiday that reminds us of the freedom and privileges we enjoy in this country. Driving a car is a privilege that comes with a great deal of responsibility attached,” ASSE Transportation Practice Specialty Administrator Frank D’Ambrosio said today. “Everyone on the roadway this holiday weekend should put themselves on high alert and take extra precautions to be wary of impaired drivers and the danger they present to everyone on the roadway, including pedestrians and workers. Please celebrate and enjoy this holiday weekend with friends and family, but please be responsible and don’t drive if you are impaired by drugs, alcohol or the lack of sleep.”

Of the 5,840 fatal work injuries recorder in the U.S. in 2006 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,501 were fatal highway incidents, representing nearly one out of four fatal work injuries. In addition, construction and extraction occupations and transportation and material moving operations together accounted for nearly half of all fatal work injuries in 2006.

Also, according to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the month of July had the second highest fatal crash rate in 2006, and 196 of those deaths occurred on Independence Day.

To help workers and motorists stay safe on the road in work zones this July 4, ASSE offers the following tips:
o Pay attention to the orange diamond-shaped warning signs or electronic message boards posted in advance of a work zone;
o Stay alert and dedicate your full attention to driving and heed directions on work zone warning signs;
o Drive carefully and slowly through construction sites and always obey the posted speed limits in the work zone area;
o Minimize distractions such as changing the radio station while driving through a work zone;
o Watch for slowing traffic and DO NOT tailgate;
o Keep an eye out for construction workers, their equipment and vehicles, as well as the vehicles around you;
o Use extra caution when driving through a site at night;
o DO NOT talk on the cell phone; and
o DO NOT change lanes within a work zone.

For more road safety tips visit www.asse.org/newsroom/naosh08/docs/ASSERoadSafetyBrochlores1006.pdf to download a free ASSE ‘Preventing Roadway Crashes’ brochure, or to obtain a free hard copy of the brochure contact ASSE Customer Service at 847-699-2929 or customerservice@asse.org.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.



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