ARTBA honors roadway work-zone safety

News ARTBA October 09, 2006
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Public and private transportation groups from Florida to Michigan were recognized for their commitment to safety at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation's (ARTBA-TDF) sixth annual "Roadway Work-Zone Safety Awareness Awards" lunch. The awards were presented Sept. 27 during the ARTBA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego.

The competition recognizes outstanding efforts to help reduce roadway work-zone construction accidents, injuries and fatalities. The awards are divided into four categories: private outreach campaigns, government outreach programs, safety training and innovations in technology. An independent panel of judges reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

Private outreach campaigns

This category recognizes the efforts of national, state and local private-sector organizations, such as construction companies, utility companies or trade associations that promote roadway work-zone safety through implementation of employee or public education campaigns and training programs.

The judges selected two winners:

• Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), Harrisburg, for "Slow Down! Highway Workers License Plate" campaign

The APC and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) Joint Safety Committee developed the "Slow Down! Highway Workers License Plate" campaign to help increase public awareness about the need to drive carefully in highway construction work zones. The availability of the plates was promoted in state and construction industry publications and websites. As a result, nearly 2,000 vehicles in the commonwealth are carrying the safety message. Net proceeds from the plate sales also were used to support a national scholarship program that provides post-high school financial assistance to the children of highway workers killed or disabled on the job.

• Associated General Contractors (AGC), New York State Chapter Inc., Albany, for the "Enhancing Police Presence in Work Zones Campaign"

The AGC, NYS chapter developed a "work-zone safety white paper," highlighting the need for boosting law enforcement presence in roadway construction zones. This was the beginning of the group's extensive outreach efforts to the public and state legislators that led to the successful passage of a new law-the 2005 "Work-Zone Safety Act." The chapter subsequently worked with the state police, Department of Motor Vehicles and NYSDOT officials to increase the police enforcement budget from $3 million in 2005 to $10 million in 2006, and improve methods to prevent "work-zone speeding." The new law is expected to play an important role in helping ensure motorists slow down in these sites, thereby resulting in fewer accidents.

Government outreach programs

This category recognizes the specific public outreach campaigns or safety programs by federal, state or local government agencies aimed at improving roadway work-zone safety.

• Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Tallahassee, for "Florida's Motorist Awareness System" (MAS)

The FDOT implemented the safety program--MAS--in an effort to reduce the speed of motorists in roadway construction zones when workers are present. The MAS uses five components to enhance a standard lane closure setup. The additional components consist of one portable changeable message sign, two portable regulatory signs and two radar speed display units, which are used on multi-lane work-zone projects where the speed limit is 55 mph or greater and workers are present in a lane closure. Since fall 2005 when MAS was first initiated, FDOT says project personnel have already witnessed the reduction of speed in work zones.

Safety training

This category recognizes national, state and local training programs that promote worker safety on the jobsite.

• Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), Okemos, for "All Trades Safety Training"

MITA's training program targeted all heavy construction trades in Michigan and was aimed at helping minimize roadway work-zone hazards and protecting workers. Through a state contract, MITA successfully trained nearly 4,500 road and bridge builders, and excavation, demolition and utility workers--which represented a 25% increase in workers trained over the previous year. The program is credited with helping foster greater safety awareness and contributing to a reduction in work-zone construction site accidents and injuries.

Innovations in technology

This category recognizes manufacturers of all types of equipment and products that develop, integrate and market innovative technologies, and organizations that demonstrate the innovative application of existing technologies.

• Quixote Transportation Safety, Chicago, for the SST Safe-Stop Truck Mounted Attenuator

Quixote's new trailer-mounted SST Safe-Stop Truck Mounted Attenuator's (TMA) unique design requires minimal modification to host vehicles and has added benefits that can prevent secondary accidents while traveling through work zones. The product creates a safer environment for both drivers and work-zone workers. The TMA's anti-rotational dampeners are designed to lock the unit in place during an angled impact to maximize the TMA's effectiveness and minimize impacting vehicles from "gating" into a work zone or adjacent lane, which could potentially cause a secondary accident. The dampeners also protect the host truck's frame by spreading the load of the impacting force, and provide maximum protection to work crews, the impacting driver, adjacent drivers and the host vehicle.

The Roadway Work Zone Safety Awareness Awards program is an ARTBA-TDF project that complements the association's "PRIDE in Transportation Construction" campaign to focus public attention on the many positive contributions the transportation construction industry has made to the U.S. economy and quality of life.

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