Each spring as the weather warms and road projects begin, the reports start coming in: Reports of vehicle crashes in construction zones, collisions that can be fatal to the construction workers doing their jobs along our nation’s roadways.
So it’s no coincidence that the highway construction industry holds National Work Zone Awareness Week in April. The event’s timing lines up with the start of the busy road construction season, the time of year when work zones open on highways across the nation.
This year, we’re observing National Work Zone Awareness Week for the 23rd year in a row, and the Virginia Department of Transportation is hosting events in and around Washington, D.C., throughout the week of April 11-15.
This year’s theme, “Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down,” illustrates the week’s primary goal: to encourage drivers to pay more attention and drive more carefully in work zones.
But there’s more to National Work Zone Awareness Week than raising awareness for motorists. The week also encourages the nation’s leading infrastructure contractors — along with state departments of transportation — to work together toward the common goal of improving worker safety. With worker safety in focus, contractors and public agencies can share best practices and establish uniform approaches that can create safer work environments.
National Work Zone Awareness Week also gives the industry a way to show our support for worker safety. One of the week’s most popular events is Go Orange Day, on Wednesday, April 13. It’s a day to wear orange to show support for the common cause of improving work zone safety.
Naturally, there’s no better reminder of the importance of safety than reading the names and seeing the faces of the workers whose lives have been cut short by wrecks in construction zones. The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation’s memorial to workers who have died, as well as its annual memorial video, help us remember.
As highway contractors, InfraStripe partners think about work zone safety every day. Still, National Work Zone Awareness Week is special. It gives us a chance to remind everyone — from elected officials to highway contractors to everyday commuters — that there’s nothing more important in a work zone than safety.