Safety Takes Training

April 17, 2023
National Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off focusing on an important first step

By Mark Ludewig, Contributing Author

Today is the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) — a time to honor individuals who have lost their lives in work zone accidents and to educate people about the risks involved in work zone areas.

The first day of this week focuses on work zone safety training, emphasizing the importance of laying a firm groundwork for highway worker safety.

America’s infrastructure is getting overhauled thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As a result, the need for safe work zones is critical. Properly designed work zones utilizing the latest traffic control technologies are essential. The same can be said for special training that equips construction crews with the knowledge and personal duty to practice safety each day.

Be it a bridge repair or road resurfacing project, traffic control plans must prioritize steps that teach constant alertness. Fortunately, there are many opportunities available to companies whose employees work in active construction zones. The following is a brief look at notable programs with a track record for making safety the top priority:

As the leading organization in roadway safety training, the NSC has developed lifesaving temporary traffic control (TTC) work zone training. Based on the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) guidelines and the American National Standards Institute requirements, these courses provide hands-on activities that help individuals hone their skills and develop safe habits. The NSC has three training courses—flagger, technician, and supervisor—that promote a safe environment in TTC work zones.

The ARTBA Work Zone Safety Consortium Online Learning System was created to provide free training to the transportation construction community. Employees can take courses to improve their knowledge in specific construction environments, and trainers can track the progress of their students. Users are also awarded a certificate upon successful completion of a course.

For more than 50 years, ATSSA has trained and certified workers to step into the work zone confident in their ability to stay protected. ATSSA’s wide range of courses can be custom tailored to fit a company’s needs. The Corporate Training Program (CTP) allows companies to license ATSSA’s work zone safety library to ensure the continuity of standardized training. There are on-site and online options for all staff levels, and quality is ensured by designated CTP instructors who are required to have a degree in civil engineering or equivalent education, along with a minimum of five years demonstrated teaching experience.

Additionally, the FWHA offers information about selected state-specific training programs while the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse maintains a searchable training database.

Coursework, scenario modeling, and peer-to-peer coaching help to achieve a higher safety standard in work zones. Workers should also be trained in emergency procedures like first aid and CPR. As we will explore this week, training is one of many steps companies can take to increase work zone safety in recognition of NWZAW. R&B

Mark Ludewig is the vice president of Safety for AWP Safety

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