Roadway construction and maintenance workers are often exposed to substantial safety risks resulting in part from working in close proximity to live traffic. As a result of this hazardous work environment, 1,435 roadway construction and maintenance workers in the US died while they were on duty between 2003 and 2014, averaging about 115 fatalities per year. Vehicles intruding into work zones are linked to approximately 8% of work zone fatalities. Approximately 50% of fatalities recorded between 2011 and 2014 were attributed to vehicles hitting a worker in the work zone. Past studies suggest that implementing safety technologies in work zones could have prevented many of those fatalities. Unfortunately, the construction industry is historically known to be resistant to change and slow in technology adoption. One reason for the industry’s conservative approach towards new safety technologies is the lack of scientifically-based evaluation studies on the effectiveness of such technologies. To help improve adoption potential, the researchers developed and implemented a five-step evaluation protocol for assessing work zone intrusion alert technologies (WZIATs). The evaluation study focused on three commercially available intrusion alert technologies: SonoBlaster, Intellicone, and Worker Alert Technology (WAS). The study demonstrated that a rigorous scientific evaluation process for WZIATs can be developed and implemented. In addition, WZIATs showed they have the potential to play a significant role in improving highway worker safety, and recommendations are provided to improve the effectiveness of WZIATs.
Publisher: Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2018
Source URL: Link to URL
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Topics: Evaluation and Assessment; Intrusion Alarms; Worker Safety