From April 19-23, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities will recognize the eleventh Annual National Work Zone Awareness Week. Endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration, National Work Zone Awareness Week seeks to bring attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones.
This year’s theme, “Work zones need your undivided attention,” focuses on increasing travelers’ awareness of work zones and urging them pay closer attention to workers. Disruptions associated with road work zones put workers and drivers at risk. Nationally, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that there is one work zone fatality every day and one injury every 13 minutes. Washington averages almost 1,000 work zone injuries per year, and 99 percent of those are drivers and passengers.
Road Operations Manager Bruce Wagner proactively approaches this problem with a Public Works Operations Safety Committee comprised of representatives from all divisions in Public Works and Utilities. The committee analyzes safety statistics, trends and procedures in order to propose solutions and improvements. The department had no traffic control work zone-related injuries in 2009.
“Traffic signalers, or flaggers, are entrusted every day with the safety of their fellow workers and the citizens who pass through our work zones,” Wagner said. “More traffic flaggers are killed in the line of duty each year in the U.S. than firefighters and police officers combined. We want to remind the public of the dangers these workers face and ask that they slow down, be patient and be attentive so we can keep everyone safe.”