American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to call for a safety stand-down on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to prevent jobsite accidents. The event, which has been dubbed “Safer Together,” will call upon both the transportation construction industry and the motoring public to focus on work zone safety.
Nearly 50,000 people are injured or killed around U.S. transportation project jobsites each year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Some involve improper employee positioning around construction equipment, or a lack of communication or awareness; some involve the motoring public traveling at unsafe speeds. Nearly all are avoidable.
“In recent months, there has been an increase in work zone incidents in Pennsylvania,” said Leeann Sherman, executive director of ACEC/PA. “Our hope is that this collaboration between ACEC/PA, PennDOT, the PA Turnpike and other highway industry partners will bring attention to this issue and prevent future jobsite injuries and fatalities. If this safety stand-down can help prevent even one injury or fatality, it will have been well worth it.”
Transportation workers are being asked to dedicate 30 minutes of their day to focus on work zone safety through various activities, such as safety talks, traffic control plan reviews, or by engaging in one of the many resources provided on the event webpage. Workers also are encouraged to take a web-based training course on Temporary Traffic Control Safety offered by PennDOT.
“As construction workers go through some of the routine motions of working on a jobsite, injuries or fatal incidents can occur, especially when dealing with heavy equipment, if workers become complacent even for a moment,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “We’re asking our highway workers to set down the tools just briefly on Sept. 15, to reset and refocus on safety.”
Pennsylvania drivers are reminded to slow down in work zones, observe the posted speed limits, and put down the phone while driving. In 2020 alone, 15 people were killed in crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, according to PennDOT data.
“Safety is PennDOT’s most important priority, not just for our highway workers, but also for the motoring public,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “That’s why PennDOT supports our partners from across the state as they stand down and take a moment to focus on work zone safety. PennDOT also urges drivers to slow down and pay attention, especially when traveling through work zones. When we all work together, we are all safer.”
PennDOT and the PA Turnpike Commission launched the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program in 2020, to reduce driving speeds and change driver behavior in work zones. Motorists are encouraged to learn more about the program during the safety stand-down on the event webpage.
Those participating in the stand-down will be encouraged to share their involvement through their social media platforms using the hashtag #safertogetherpa.
For more information on Safer Together, visit: www.acecpa.org/page/SafetyStandDown.