As work zone season begins, union reminds motorists to be safe

During National Work Zone Awareness Week, which will be held from April 11-15 this year, motorists are reminded that ‘work zones are a sign to slow down.’

For the thousands of CSEA members working on or near highway or roadside work zones, going to work every day can be hazardous.

As state and local government highway crews work to repair roads and bridges, motorists are reminded to be patient, slow down and move over for emergency and construction vehicles, if safe to do so.

The statistics about work zone incidents are sobering. Since CSEA began keeping records in 1983, our union has lost 57 members due to work zone intrusions and numerous more members have been injured.

Of these 57 members, 28 of the CSEA work zone fatalities occurred due to operational hazards within the work zone.

For members who are working in work zones, always remember that employers must have a temporary traffic control plan before the start of the job. Use spotters when backing up. Never ride on a bucket or vehicle unless it’s designed for that specific use and be sure flaggers have a means of escape from aggressive drivers.

Highway work is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 2003 and 2019 (the latest year available), 2,103 workers have died while working in or near road construction sites, averaging 124 deaths per year.

CSEA has fought for years to address work zone injuries and fatalities, including by raising awareness through our union’s Don’t Zone Out campaign.

Our union also helped successfully fight for the expansion of the ‘Move Over’ Law to include work zones. Violations can result in fines and points on your driver license.

CSEA also campaigned for and won legislation that establishes a pilot program that will place automated speed cameras in work zones on state highways. In states where speed cameras are in work zones, they have been proven to be effective in reducing speeds, as well as reducing intrusions, injuries and fatalities.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the speed camera legislation on Labor Day 2021. Cameras are expected to be installed this year.

Get more safety resources from CSEA’s Occupational Safety and Health Department at https://cseany.org/safety.

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