2021 National Work Zone Awareness Week

As we’ve transitioned into Spring, you probably have noticed more construction signs and orange traffic barrels along the roadway. April 26 marks the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). It is an annual campaign to spread awareness for work zone safety and to encourage safe driving. This year’s theme for NWZAW is “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” The theme reinforces the idea that everyone plays a role in safety when it comes to road construction. With the start of construction season upon us, NWZAW is a great reminder for drivers to use extra caution in work zones.

My first roadway project in the field was in 2016. Since day one, my supervisors at Sain have stressed the importance of taking the proper precautions in the field for everyone to work safely. Thankfully, I haven’t worked on any projects where accidents have been fatal, but every day you work in a work zone, there is always the threat of possible work zone danger. In 2019, 135 workers were killed in highway work zones

While working on a roadway project, there are several approaches that I and others in the field take to keep everyone safe, such as:

  • Regularly inspect construction signs
  • Wear a highly visible vest or shirt 
  • Stay behind the barricades unless necessary 
  • Never assume a driver can see you
  • Avoid project blind spots
  • Attend monthly safety meetings
  • Always stay alert

Construction crews follow these steps every day, but they rely on drivers to stay alert and aware of work zones. As a driver, it’s natural to get caught up in where you’re heading or be distracted by texting, talking on the phone, or switching the radio station. However, those distractions could lead to work zone accidents. The next time you drive through a work zone, remember to obey speed limits, follow warning signs, use caution around large vehicles, and watch for workers because it could save a life.