The annual spring campaign, National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) was held this past week, April 17 – 21, 2023. Led by the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), NWZAW is held at the start of the season to encourage safe driving in work zones to raise awareness to motorists about the importance of slowing down and paying attention while behind the wheel.
“You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us.”, the theme of this year’s campaign, launched across the country to educate drivers on how, although they may not be working in an active work zone, they are driving through and are a part of the important infrastructure upgrades that need to be completed to keep our communities moving.
At Flagger Force, an industry-leading short-term traffic control company in the eastern United States, we supported this year’s events alongside our partners, sharing messages to community members to, “Stay Alert. Stay Alive.” while in work zones. We’ve collected the highlights of the week to share them with you!
Monday: Work Zone Safety Training Day
Utilizing our microlearning platform, FF Learn, we published a special edition of our weekly courses, focusing on distracted driving for our nearly 2,000 traffic control professionals.
“Through behavior-based safety initiatives and microlearning, our employees know how to identify ‘high-risk’ behaviors, such as distracted driving, and understand that it is critical to stop and think before completing a task to prevent incidents. FF Learn, our internal microlearning platform powered by eduMe, allows employees to study and review short modules of safety-related content at their convenience.” – Luke Lazar, CSP, vice president of risk for Flagger Force
Our special edition work zone safety course featured a video that depicts the importance of planning for an escape route and how to set one up when working in a job site on or near the roadway.
Tuesday: Kick-Off Events
At a press conference hosted by the Maryland State Highway Association in Hanover, Governor Wes Moore, and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller joined the Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld, State Highway Administrator Tim Smith, and Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Roland L. Butler, Jr., to urge motorists to slow down, stay alert and, if possible, move over in work zones. Flagger Force was able to attend the event to show our support for work zone safety.
Wednesday: Go Orange Day
A special safety symposium event was hosted at Flagger Force’s headquarters in Hummelstown, PA called Coffee and Conversations. Vice president of risk and safety, Luke Lazar, CSP, kicked off the event by sharing the topic of risk normalization and addressing it through microlearning. He was then joined by Kevin Chambers, area director, OSHA-Harrisburg, who shared perspectives on the importance of a strong safety culture. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission assistant director of training, Todd Leiss, presented on recent innovations introduced at the organization and how they are implementing them across the Commonwealth. Eric Hoffman, manager, Health & Safety, Certification & Education, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor shared their flagger safety program and additional courses that they offer to educate people on work zone safety. A panel discussion followed in which present and virtual participants asked questions around innovations in work zones.
Thursday: NWZAW Social Media Storm
Flagger Force team members took over our Instagram profile with a site visit in Lancaster, PA to spotlight the features of a work zone and how motorists and road workers can stay safe.
Jacob K., safety professional; Ray C., field training supervisor; and Scott R., safety manager, shared with us safety messages on how to avoid slips, trips, and falls and how to help pedestrians navigate. They even gave a KUDOS to one of our crew members who was doing a great job while they were on site.
Friday: Moment of Silence
On the final day of NWZAW, we honor those who have lost their lives in a work zone incident. In 2021, there were 778 total work zone fatalities. These accidents did not have to happen. We can all come together to spread awareness and share important reminders for all motorists:
- Slow down
- Avoid driver distractions
- Obey all signs
Everyone Plays a Role In Work Zone Safety
Flagger Force vice president of risk and safety, Luke Lazar, CSP, shares this message: “When you are behind the wheel, you should be only focusing on one thing—driving.”
Looking for more information about NWZAW and how you can participate? Check out NWZAW.org for all the details. And be sure to follow Flagger Force on social media for year-long safety tips and job site highlights.