June is National Safety month, and in observance of this important topic we will post a new article each week in June that focuses on safety to promote a safe and healthy workplace. Check out the previous weekly post to read about this year’s safety month series.
Did you know there are more than 250 active roadway work zones scheduled throughout the state of Minnesota for the 2018 construction season? (Source)
From my vantage as the Transportation Market Division Leader at Braun Intertec, I see that our coworkers and clients are frequently on the front lines of active work zones where accidents often happen. In most cases, accidents in work zones are extremely severe. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, every year there are an average of 733 work zone deaths nationwide. (Source)
8 Work Zone Safety Tips (source: Minnesota Department of Transportation)
- Stay alert, especially at night. When it’s dark out, our visibility is severely reduced and can negatively impact our ability to judge distance and speed. Keep your eyes on the road, and make sure you use your headlights at night.
- Avoid distractions. In construction zones other vehicles may slow, stop or change lanes at a moment’s notice, which is why you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Taking your eyes off the road impacts reaction time significantly, so make sure to stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
- Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times. Most accidents within a work zone are rear-end collisions, be sure you are following a safe distance behind other vehicles in case of unexpected stops.
- Obey posted speed limits. The fine for a speeding ticket in a work zone is $300. It’s not just construction workers you are endangering when you speed. Following the speed limit is for your own safety too.
- Expect work zones to constantly change. Day-to-day you may experience lane shifts, closures or moving workers and vehicles in a work zone. Pay attention to road signs and follow directions from work zone flaggers to pass though safely.
- Don’t make unnecessary lane changes. This can disrupt the flow of traffic and increase the risk of collisions.
- Do the zipper merge. When a lane is closed in a construction zone, a zipper merge occurs when drivers use both lanes of traffic until reaching the merge area, and then alternate in “zipper” fashion into the open lane. When executed properly, the zipper merge can reduce congestion and traffic backups by as much as 40 percent.
- Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones. These exist to protect both workers and motorists, and you can be fined for any damages caused to these barriers.
Braun Intertec places a high degree of importance on protecting the health and safety of its employee-owners while driving and working in construction zones. At all levels of our company, safety is our priority. Whether we’re on the clock or driving our kids to summer camp, driving safely in work zones is just another way we demonstrate safety as a value at Braun Intertec.