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With Road Construction Up, ASSE Offers Key Work Zone Safety Tips, Standards

Posted in on Thu, Apr 8, 2010

April 8, 2010

‘Work Zone Safety Tips’ from the Des Plaines, IL- based American Society of Safety Engineers – Founded in 1911, ASSE is the oldest safety society and represents more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental safety professionals located worldwide. ASSE has teamed up with the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearing House to hold a free webinar on work zone safety April 21 at 1 p.m. EDT. To register for the free webinar one can go to .

Work zone safety — In 2007, 835 deaths resulted from motor vehicle crashes in road construction work zones in the U.S.
Every year since 1992 transportation accidents have been the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S. Of the 5,703 workplace fatalities recorded in the U.S. for 2004, 43 percent were transportation related. For many people, such as police, utility workers, sales personnel, commercial vehicle drivers, construction workers, fire fighters, emergency personnel and many more, their vehicle is their office.

Everyone plays a role in maintaining a safe work zone area during roadway construction. The American Society of Safety Engineers’ members have developed the following tips to follow when in such a work zone.

DOs & DON”Ts While Driving Through a Site:
 Pay attention to the orange diamond-shaped warning signs or electronic message boards posted in advance of a road construction project.
 Stay alert. Dedicate your full attention to driving.
 Minimize distractions. Avoid changing radio stations, using a cell phone, etc. while driving in a work zone.
 Drive carefully & slowly through the construction site; always obey the posted speed limits in the work zone area.
 Pay close attention; heed directions on work zone warning signs. Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
 Watch for stopped or slowing traffic. DO NOT TAILGATE.
 Expect the unexpected. Anticipate potential dangers.
 Watch how far-off traffic is flowing.
 Keep an eye out for construction workers, their equipment & vehicles, as well as the vehicles around you.
 Use extra caution when driving through a site at night.
 Watch for detours & lane diversions.
 Most states, such as Illinois, have instituted new laws regarding work zones; penalties for speeding in these areas are double that of the normal penalties for speeding in a non-work zone stretch of road.
 Speed up or slow down significantly while going through a work zone.
 Slow down to look at the construction work being done.
 Resume normal speed until after you emerge completely out of the work zone area.
 Tailgate – most of the accidents within a work zone are rear-end collisions.
 Change lanes within a work zone.

ASSE just released its “Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction” standard, A10.47-2009. The standard Committee Chair Scott Schneider notes, “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has few standards that cover work zone safety and standards also vary by state. The A10.47 standard is intended to fill the gap and to help contractors develop best practices to protect the safety and health of road construction workers. Each year many construction workers are killed in work zones. Their deaths could have been prevented. They were run over by motorists, backed over by construction vehicles and electrocuted by overhead power lines.”

For more information go to ASSE’s website at and to order an ASSE ‘Prevent Roadway Crashes’ free brochure contact

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