This year’s Work Zone Safety Week campaign kicked off on Monday, April 3rd at the MDOT Grand Region Maintenance Facility. SEIU 517M members were on hand showing our union pride, and our community spirit to have a safe summer construction season and drive toward zero crashes from distracted drivers. SEIU Local 517M is partnering with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Michigan State Police, and several other groups to promote safety in Work Zones. This year’s slogan is “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands!”
SEIU Local 517M President George Heath was one of the featured speakers along with representatives from other sponsoring organizations.
“We are concerned for not only the motorists, including our fellow union members and their families, but also the union members that work on construction projects in, and around active work zones. Every year workers are killed or disabled because of traffic accidents in work zones, and we need to draw attention to the need for increased safety. MIOSHA safety regulations have been weakened, and speed limits have been increased. Our members working in these construction zones are at the mercy of every car and truck passing through their work zone with a distracted driver behind the wheel.” said George Heath, SEIU Local 517M President.
A Public Service Announcement video that was produced featuring an MDOT worker who was injured in a construction zone. Watch The Video Here
You can do your part in protecting your fellow union members and other road workers by slowing down in construction zones. According to Federal Highway Administration work zone accident statistics, annually there are approximately: 84,721 crashes • 22,276 injures • 595 traveler and worker deaths!
As we come to the summer driving and construction season, please remember these simple things:
- Know the work zone signs. Think of “signs” in two ways. They are the metal plaques that inform and warn you, but there are other devices and other indicators that tell you about the work underway, mark the path you should follow, and help you navigate the work zone. Look for direction from cones, barrels, pavement markings, and other devices designed to get you safely through the work zone.
- Pay attention to other drivers. It’s never a good idea to ignore other drivers no matter where you’re driving, but in work zones you need to be especially mindful of them. Roadway work zones are less forgiving than normal stretches of highways and streets. They often have narrower lanes and no shoulders to escape to in case you want to take evasive action.
- Stay focused. Avoid distractions. Losing focus on your driving is bad in any situation, but it can prove deadly in roadway work zones. Observing what the signs tell you, controlling your speed, steering carefully, and keeping an eye on other drivers—all demand your full attention. Stop eating. Put down your mobile device. Keep your focus on your driving.
- Expect the unexpected. When you drive in work zones, it’s always best to prepare yourself for something unexpected, such as menacing actions by other motorists, construction vehicles that slow down to leave the roadway and pull into the work area, dump trucks that emerge from the work area and enter your lane up ahead, workers operating scant inches from your path, uneven pavement lanes, and loose gravel on the road surface to name just a few. When you anticipate problems, you are better able to react to them appropriately.
- Keep your cool. Be patient. Maintain calm. Don’t get rattled by work zone situations. Always make sure your speed is appropriate to the situation— that could be slower than the posted limit. Finally, don’t lose your patience or your temper. If you keep your cool, you and everyone else will make it through the work zone and arrive safely at your destinations.
Please be aware this week and every week!
For more facts, stats and information about work zone safety, visit: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm.