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Work zone awareness

There were 37,476 injuries in work zones in 2010. This equates to one work zone injury every 14 minutes, 96 per day, or about four people injured every hour. And, accident statistics show that one- quarter of all construction-related fatalities and more than one-half of oil and gas related fatalities resulted from vehicle accidents.*

Motorists and those working on highway construction sites, roadway projects or oil field operations need to be aware of the dangers in and around the worksite and follow protocols that focus on safety. Below are some ways to help employees – and motorists – stay safe as work ramps up in the months ahead.

Have a plan

A written Traffic Control Plan (TCP) is critical. It is the foundation for safety in a work zone and can be based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) or state requirements – whichever is more stringent.  

  • The TCP can vary. It depends upon the complexity of the project, volume of traffic, and location.
  • The plan should outline the work to be performed and the movement of traffic during each phase of a project.

Slow traffic

The signs a driver or pedestrian sees before entering a work zone can influence movement and prevent accidents. 

  • The location and number of signs can alert drivers and pedestrians to potential hazards ahead.
  • Be aware of speed, roadway conditions and expected driver behaviors when posting signs.
  • Refer to the MUTCD and your local and state transportation departments to learn the most effective way to use signage.

Create a barrier

The type and extent of barriers used in a work zone are usually dictated in the contract, and can be the difference between protecting workers or not.  

  • Some work zone regulations allow the use of cones and barrels, but provide little protection against vehicles entering work zones exposing workers to serious injury.

Be visible

Make sure workers are able to be seen with high visibility apparel.

  • Use bright colors during the day and retro reflective gear when working in the dark.

* Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Facts and Statistics - Work Zone Injuries and Fatalities   ( accessed 3/26/2013