According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the year 2014 witnessed 33,450 roadside fatalities and in 2015 there was an approximate 10% increase in roadside deaths with increases expected in 2016 and 2017 as repairs to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure occur. Of these 33,450 deaths, 669 (or 2%) occurred in work zones, which translates to about two work zone deaths per day/365 days in 2014. These statistics do not take into account the alarming and increasing injury rates of roadside and work zone accidents. According to NSC there is a work zone accident every 14 minutes. This translates to increasing insurance premiums and payouts, increasing workman’s comp claims and lost time on the job by injured employees, and priceless adverse effects on individuals and families. "We are in the midst of a public health crisis and it isn't Zika," says Deborah Hersman, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and now president and CEO of the National Safety Council (National Public Radio, October 20, 2016). Hersman has repeatedly discussed the crisis employers and employees are facing as work zone accidents continue to raise at alarming rates.
For work zones, many companies involved have established safety protocols, including equipment and procedures that their employees must implement. Standard safety programs include training courses, printed materials and specialized certifications and programs that exist for those occupations involving extremely dangerous environments. Both government agencies and insurance companies oversee these companies to make sure plans to protect employees are being followed. Emerging is a new innovative tool focused on roadside safety called the SafetySockTM. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration: "Traffic safety programs provide an alternative to reduce these costs without reducing the benefits offered to employees."
Utilizing traditional safety equipment such as cones, triangles, and orange barrels, plus adding SafetySockTM greatly enhances the circle of safety for work zones in addition to making parked vehicles more visible to passing traffic. When your employees step out of their vehicle to establish a work zone, having them wear a safety vest is critical for personal safety. Then placing safety cones or safety flares and having them deploy a SafetySockTM to cover the side mirror of their work vehicle and extend the circle of safety utilizing the extension of a mirror as an added point of demarcation. Work zone safety tools are absolutely necessary in bringing the utmost safety to your workers.
In the time it took you to read this, according to the statistics previously mentioned, one work zone accident has already occurred .We can work to change this by utilizing all of the previously mentioned safety equipment. Altogether they could very well be the most effective way in decreasing the alarming statistics of work zone accidents and safety related deaths.