Roadway Construction Workers at Higher Risk, ARTBA Programs Aim to Help

Tue April 13, 2004 - National Edition

Roadway construction workers are killed at a rate nearly three times higher than other construction workers and eight times higher than general industry workers, according to an American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) review of federal data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The fatality rate for roadway construction workers is 32 people for every 100,000 workers. By comparison, the rate for all construction is about 13 people per 100,000 and the general industry rate is about 4 people per 100,000 workers. The findings were released in conjunction with the fifth annual National Work Zone Awareness Week, which was held April 4-10.

Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters, ARTBA and other industry leaders participated in an April 6 event at a roadway construction zone on Interstate 95 in Springfield, VA, which aimed at focusing attention on the safety risks for workers in these sites.

ARTBA developed several programs aimed specifically at improving worker safety, including:

Training Seminars: ARTBA, through an Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) grant and in partnership with CNA Insurance and the National Safety Council, is providing free four-hour training seminars in states with high accident and injury rates, aimed at educating workers about the hazards they face in roadway construction zones.

In 2004, training seminars have been held in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Additional seminars are being planned in other key locations across the United States.

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (NWZSIC): Managed by the ARTBA Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) and housed at the Texas Transportation Institute in College Station, the Clearinghouse is the world’s largest “cyber-library” of information on roadway construction safety “best practices,” laws, regulations, public awareness campaigns, products, training and educational materials. The facility handles approximately 6,000 monthly information requests.

Industry, Labor Group and Federal Government Alliance: ARTBA is working with the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the International Union of Operating Engineers under another OSHA grant to develop hazard awareness training and education programs that employers can provide to new workers. The roadway safety orientation training program has been offered in many locations across the U.S. and is available in various media including flip charts, pamphlets, and PowerPoint presentations through the NWZSIC.

Roadway Construction Safety Management Manual: The newly revised ARTBA “Roadway Construction Safety Management Manual” was developed exclusively for transportation construction professionals to help identify hazards on job sites and increase safety awareness in roadway construction zones.

The manual contains easy-to-understand compliance information for critical construction work zone safety and health topics such as excavation, Hazcom equipment operating procedures, substance abuse policy and personal protective equipment. It is designed to help create a safer work environment and lower insurance costs.

For more information, call 202/289-4434.