Promoting Safety: National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 15-19, 2024

Promoting Safety: National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 15-19, 2024

Each year, the National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) places the spotlight on the importance of safely driving through roadway work zones. Construction zones often involve lane closures, reduced speed limits, and unexpected changes in traffic flow. Spearheaded by the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), the initiative aims to educate drivers about the dangers posed by work zones, encouraging them to be extra cautious while navigating these areas.

Distracted driving and speeding are leading causes of accidents in work zones, endangering both workers and motorists. In 2021, an estimated 106,000 work zone crashes were reported, resulting in 956 work zone fatalities, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data (Clearinghouse, n.d.).

What is Work Zone Awareness Week?

In 1997, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) initiated a week-long campaign to improve work zone safety awareness among its district staff before the commencement of construction projects. Today, this annual event signifies a collaboration among state departments, road safety organizations, government bodies, corporations, and individuals. Since 2000, the National Work Zone Awareness Week has pursued the following goals:

  • Raise awareness to be more cautious when driving through work zones to decrease fatalities and injuries.
  • Establish and promote uniform safety tips.
  • Emphasize the value of training and the importance of best practices among individuals in the private sector and industry professionals.
  • Continue outreach efforts to form partnerships and work with entities involved in work zone safety.

As a company committed to championing workplace safety for more than 75 years, PK Safety supports this initiative and provides information to empower people and organizations to create safer work environments.

When is Work Zone Awareness Week in 2024?

This year, the annual spring campaign will be held from April 15 to 19. This week is strategically chosen to coincide with the peak construction season across the US, when the risks associated with work zones become more pronounced. According to the NHTSA FARS data, there were 42,000 work zone injuries and 164 pedestrian fatalities in 2021 (Clearinghouse, n.d.).

How to Participate in Work Zone Awareness Week

The 2024 National Work Zone Awareness Week includes the following events:

  • Work Zone Safety Training Day(Monday, April 15, 2024): The first day of NWZAW emphasizes the importance of laying the groundwork of safety through personnel training. Participating companies are encouraged to pause during the workday for safety demonstrations and policy discussions.
  • National Kickoff Event (Tuesday, April 16, 2024): The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) hosts this year’s NWZAW with the theme “Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.” More information will be posted on as it becomes available.
  • Go Orange Day (Wednesday, April 17, 2024): On this day, roadway safety professionals are encouraged to wear orange to show their support of work zone safety.
  • Social Media Storm (Thursday, April 18, 2024): Show your support by posting photos, sharing messages, and using the hashtags #NWZAW and #Orange4Safety.You can use these images from the MDOT.
  • Moment of Silence (Friday, April 19, 2024): This NWZAW encourages companies and families to come together for a moment of silence as a tribute to workers who lost their lives to work zone incidents.

Contact the NWZAW to host your own work zone safety event and to learn more about how you can help spread the word about work zone awareness.

How to Promote Safety in the Workplace

Creating a safe working environment in construction zones is a collaborative effort between management and workers. Here are some essential practices for fostering a culture of safety:

  • Communication: Safety managers must clearly communicate work zone plans, hazards, and safety protocols to all workers. Daily briefings are pivotal to ensure everyone is aware of potential dangers.
  • Training: Provide workers with comprehensive training covering proper use of safety gear, hazard identification, and safe working practices specific to the construction zone.
  • Signage and Markings: Use clear and visible signage and markings to delineate the work zone, speed limits, and potential hazards. In addition, workers should wear high visibility clothing and consider traffic safety equipment when necessary.

For roadway work, utilize appropriate traffic control devices, such as cones and barricades to direct traffic safely through the zone.

Planning and Implementing Work Zone Safety Programs

The following steps are crucial to establishing robust work zone safety protocols:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment: Identify all potential hazards within the work zone. This can include moving equipment, falling objects, and electrical hazards. Managers and workers should also work together to identify possible congestion points and look for ways to enhance traffic safety.
  • Develop a written safety plan: Outline the safety protocols for workers, including personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, traffic control procedures, and emergency response plans.
  • Regularly inspect work zones: Conduct ongoing safety inspections to identify and address any potential hazards that may arise during work. This allows you to continuously monitor the effectiveness of safety protocols and make adjustments as necessary.

Finally, maintain detailed records of safety training, inspections, and incidents to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

Safety Equipment Recommendations

Equipping workers with the appropriate equipment is critical to ensuring safety in work zones. As the worker safety specialists, we recommend the following:

  • High-Visibility Clothing: Workers should wear high-visibility safety vests that meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards(ANSI, n.d.). This safety gear helps drivers and those operating heavy equipment to easily spot them, even in busy work zones.
  • Hard Hats: Protect workers from falling objects and collision impacts with properly fitting hard hats that meet ANSI Z89.1 standards.
  • Safety Glasses: Eye protection is vital for preventing injuries from flying debris or dust. Consider safety glasses with side shields for added protection.
  • Work Boots: Sturdy work boots that meet ASTM standards(ASTM International, Sep 25, 2018) provide traction on uneven surfaces and protect feet from punctures or crushing hazards.
  • Work Gloves: Depending on the specific task, gloves that offer protection from cuts, abrasions, chemicals, or other hazards may be necessary.
  • Respiratory Protection: N95 masks and respirators protect against inhaling atmospheric hazards such as dusts, fogs, fumes, mists. Additional protection from gases and vapors may be offered by cartridge style respirators.

After over 75 years in the safety business, we’ve vetted thousands of products to provide our customers with a comprehensive line of the most reliable safety equipment. Contact us today to find the appropriate solutions for your specific applications.



Apr 11th 2024 PK Safety Team

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