Every 8 hours in America, a person dies in a roadway work zone. More than 1,000 people die and more than 40,000 people are injured each year in roadway work zones. Each person is a son or daughter, father or mother, sibling or friend.
Hundreds of those victims are memorialized and were recognized by CH2M HILL employees in Denver on April 17. The traveling National Work Zone Memorial, provided by the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), was on display for our company to honor those who have died in work zones.
“We’re very pleased with the interest shown in the memorial and the equipment and materials we had on display,” said Dave Dostaler, TBG health and safety manager. “The memorial is a reminder of what happens each day in work zones and we want to do everything we can to help protect our project workers and the traveling public from these dangers.”
Throughout the day, CH2M HILL employees spoke with TBG health and safety staff about the memorial and what role CH2M HILL employees have in roadway work zones. Employees were also given fact sheets and posters about work zone safety. Whether we’re working on the side of a roadway or driving through a work zone on our way home from work, work zones affect our lives daily. On average, motorists drive through at least one work zone for every 50 miles they travel.
Many times during the event, we heard people say, “I can’t believe there are so many people on the memorial.” Sadly enough, the names on the memorial panels are just a small percentage of the number of people who have died in roadway work zones. Each person whose name appears on the memorial was nominated by their family or their employer.
We also heard people ask, “What do we do to help stop this from happening?” There are many ways we can continue to protect people driving through and laboring in work zones:
- Obey signs in the work zone–be prepared to slow down or stop
- Always wear your seat belt
- Whenever you drive, make sure you are fully awake and avoid alcohol when you have to drive–many work zone crashes happen due to driver impairment
- Work zone configurations and lane closures can change from hour to hour, so watch the signs and never assume the work zone is the same each time you drive through
- Eliminate distractions, such as cell phone use
If you’re working on a roadway project:
- Work with your regional health and safety manager to create a site-specific safety plan that addresses known safety hazards on the project
- Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for day and night work
- Conduct health and safety self-assessments of your work to identify ways to improve your work
- Work with clients, regional health and safety managers, and partners to create a traffic control plan
- Implement the “buddy system” on the roadway–don’t turn your back to on-coming traffic; if you do have to turn your back to traffic, have a buddy watch and warn you about any cars that could be a concern
- Communicate with each other at all times
- If you see a safety concern, say something
By asking what we can do better, we’re already starting the process to help eliminate roadway work zone injuries and fatalities. CH2M HILL strives for world-class safety. This isn’t just a company culture, but a personal value to keep each other and our world healthier and safer. If one of our employees’ family members is injured or killed in a work zone crash, this loss isn’t just confined to that family, but affects many people touched by that person.
CH2M HILL is successful with the power of people. When one of us is hurt, we’re all hurt. Remember the names on the National Work Zone Memorial; think about their lives and the family and friends they’ve left behind. Do your part to ensure another name doesn’t have to be added to the memorial.
For media requests, please contact Barry Grossman, CH2M HILL Marketing/Communications Manager, at (720) 286-0332 or at [email protected].