Work zone safety… Again!

RMG1aBy Greg Sitek

The following editorial appeared in the June issues of the Associated Construction Publications (ACP)

Work zone safety…  Again! It was only last month that we wrote about the importance of doing everything possible to make work zones safe for both the people who were working there as well as the people who pass through them in the course of moving through their day.

All work zones have hazards and/or risks but construction zones are by far the most hazardous. Safety slogans such as:  “Safety is everyone’s job”, “Safety is Number One” “Everyone home every day”, etc. are good reminders that safety is important and that it must be practiced to the degree that it becomes a part of our DNA, like automatically buckling your seatbelt when you get in your car or take your seat on an airplane

“ During the 2003 to 2007 period, 639 workers were killed while working at road construction sites.  During this same period there were 8,103 deaths in the construction industry.  The 639 worker deaths in road construction represent 7.9% of all deaths in construction.  Nearly half of these fatalities were attributable to a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment—more frequently by construction equipment than by tractor-trailers, vans, and cars.  In 60 percent of the cases where a worker was struck by backing vehicles or mobile equipment, the worker was fatally struck by a backing dump truck.”

Source: Fatal occupational injuries at road construction sites, 2003-07 

There is nothing more final than death. It leaves in its wake grieving families and friends, unfulfilled dreams, unattained goals, incomplete projects… children cheated by the loss of a parent or parents cheated by the loss of a child. Nothing can change this or make it easier. ARTBA tries to help and has created a foundation to address some of the financial needs that follow some of these tragedies.

ARTBA Foundation Announces College Financial Assistance to Children of Fallen Highway Workers

The children of highway workers killed or permanently disabled on the job will receive financial assistance in their pursuit of higher education thanks to scholarships announced by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF).

Students from Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania have been named 2013 recipients of the ARTBA-TDF’s “Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship.”  The program was established in 1999 with a gift from two Roanoke, Va. highway contractors and their companies—Stan Lanford (1999 ARTBA chairman) of Lanford Brothers, and Jack Lanford (1991 ARTBA chairman), with Adams Construction Company.

On average, about 100 highway workers are killed every year on the job or in roadway construction work zone accidents. The 2013 class includes

Vybav Hiraesave, Dover, Del.

Vybav’s father, Vasuki Hiraesave, was killed in an accident while working as an employee of the Delaware Department of Transportation in March 2006.  Vybav is a sophomore at the University of Delaware and is majoring in chemical engineering.

Lyndsay Morgan, Daytona Beach, Fla.           

Lyndsay’s father, Steven Morgan, was killed in a November 2011 accident while working on Interstate 75 in Florida.  In the fall, Lyndsay will attend Florida Gulf Coast University and major in athletic training.

Haley Ward, Tell City, Ind.

Haley’s father, Ronald Ward, was killed on the job in 2005 while working maintenance for the Indiana Department of Transportation.  Haley will be attending University of Southern Indiana in the fall and plans to major in biology.

Dallas Jones, Bluffton, Ind.

Dallas’ father, Dale Jones, was killed in a December 2009 accident while working as an employee of the Indiana Department of Transportation.  Dallas attends the Indiana Institute of Technology and is majoring in computer science.

Grant Horn, Whitesburg, Ky.

Grant’s dad, Greg Horn, was killed in 1997 during a drilling accident while working on a state highway construction project.  Grant will attend the Lincoln College of Technology in the fall, majoring in automotive diesel technology.

Alexis Keefe, Wyalusing, Pa.

Alexis’ dad, Bret Keefe, was killed in a car accident in 2001 while working for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  She will attend Bentley University in the fall and pursue a business degree.

The ARTBA-TDF is interested in receiving contact leads on students who could benefit from the scholarship program.  Please share them with ARTBA Scholarship and Awards Manager Holly DiGangi at  Individuals and firms interested in supporting the scholarship program can do so by sending a check payable to: ARTBA-TDF, 1219 28th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007.

No, it doesn’t change the tragic facts but it does make it possible to fulfill some otherwise unfulfilled dreams…Don’t just read the signs and repeat the slogans – live them.