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Insurance - Safety in work zones

image Stan Gregory, Safety & Risk Consultant, INSURICA, San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Department of Transportation statistics indicate that there were 184 crashes and 202 fatalities on Texas roads in work zones during 2017. This was an increase of 9% from the previous year and leads all other states. One reason is that Texas has as many more road miles than any other state. Many of the deaths were attributed to occupants were not wearing seat belts.



    All work zones on major Texas roads fall under TxDOT and their MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). In this manual in defines the planning, speed limits, traffic control devices and location of such for the various types of work to be done depending on the length of project and time of day aimed at reducing the potential cause of accidents.

    These Traffic Control Plans are designed and engineered to help both TxDOT and the contractors who are working on their projects to select and implement a well-designed plan to manage and reduce injury to both the workers and the general motoring public. The plans do include human behavior studies on speed, visual perception and amount of time the project will take in general. What they can’t always anticipate is what the motoring, walking or cycling public will actually do while in this “work zone”.

    Our contractors in the Texas must comply with these rules and are generally monitored and reviewed by TxDOT on these projects. However, drivers are still having crashes with most occurring from distracted driving, speeding or just not focused on the job of driving.

    To reduce injuries to workers in the Work Zone and indecisions on the part of drivers, “flaggers” must be trained and certified. Accident information gathered from crashes have indicated that flaggers were not clear as to their intent in some cases and these individuals are the first to assist motorist in negotiating a required lane change. Additionally, many work zones are also not active at night, thus the signage, cones/barrels and barriers and attenuator vehicles that help the public from accessing the areas under construction. To reduce claims against you in the event of a crash, the contractor should take pictures/videos of the sight as they left it in case of a crash while no one was on site, at the end of each work day. This will help the claims process when a claim is filed due to your work on this road. Besides the human behaviors there are good rules for everyone to remember; when you see an orange sign, look out for road work up ahead; slow down and be prepared to stop; observe others around you as not all see what you may see.

    National Work Zone Awareness is great way to support and get awareness out to the public and is generally the first week of April each year. Buckle up Texas!

About Stan Gregory
    Stan brings more than three decades of experience to his current role as Safety and Risk Consultant on the Risk Management Services team at INSURICA. He provides risk management solutions for customers in all industries, with a special emphasis on behavioral safety solutions. Stan’s primary focus is working with large employers to improve their risk profiles and implement custom-tailored safety and risk management plans. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and has been a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for 25 years.

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