Source: American Traffic Safety Services Association

 As roadwork season begins, CSEA continues to push for safer work zones. 

Thousands of CSEA members work on or near roadway work zones, which is one of the most dangerous jobs that our union members perform. 

Since our union began keeping records in 1983, nearly 60 members have passed away due to work zone intrusions, including Jake Arcara, who passed away last year following a work zone incident at his job at the Town of Yorktown. Numerous more CSEA members were injured. 

Nearly half of the fatalities were caused by motorists. Major contributing factors of these deaths and injuries include distracted driving and speed. 

In this file photo, Caelyn
Grunewald does flagger
work for the Town of East
Hampton. (Photo by Wendi

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that between 2003-2020 (the latest year available), 2,222 workers have passed away while performing highway maintenance work. 

According to the National Safety Council, in 2020 alone, 857 people died in work zones, and 44,240 were injured. Since 2010, work zone deaths have increased 46%. 

CSEA has fought for years to make roadways and work zones safer for workers. Our union will observe National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 17-21. This year’s theme is “You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us!” Learn more about the week at 

Our union is committed to fighting for safer work zones year round, including through CSEA’s ongoing Don’t Zone Out campaign. 

Here are just a few of CSEA’s accomplishments to help make work zones and roads safer since launching Don’t Zone Out in 2010. 

  • Supported the enactment of the “Move Over” Law and later successfully lobbied for several expansions of vehicles to be covered under the legislation: amber light vehicles (tow trucks, construction and maintenance vehicles); sanitation and recycling vehicles, to be covered under the law and vehicles displaying blue or green lights, such as volunteer firefighters and ambulances. 
  • Successfully pushed for legislation creating a pilot program to place automated speed cameras in state highway work zones. 
  • Trained more than 3,000 workers on temporary traffic control throughout the state. 
  • Partnered with the state Department of Labor’s Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau on compliance directives and trained their staff on work zone safety. 
  • Provided guidance for both state and local government employers on obtaining required equipment for proper work zone set-up and worker safety protections. 
  • Sponsored hundreds of public events and distributed thousands of Don’t Zone Out magnets, clings and banners to raise awareness about ending distracted driving and slowing down in work zones. 
  • Educated high school and BOCES students about driving safely through work zones. 

In this file photo, Caleb Snyder, a laborer and Owsego County Blue Collar
Unit member, helps pave a road. (Photo by Nicholas Newcomb.)




Traffic cones on road with electronic arrow pointing to the right to divert traffic and white car in distance

Are you driving in a work zone? 

Are you driving in a work zone? Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help keep CSEA members working on or near them safe: 


  • Stay focused on driving. 
  • Avoid all distractions when traveling through work zones, including mobile device use. 
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop. 
  • Follow all posted instructions. 
  • When directed to change lanes for lane closures, do so as early as possible. Watch for vehicles around you that could be in your blind spot. 
  • Give workers and other vehicles plenty of space. 

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