Safety is in the Communication Business

A recent road trip took me from Virginia to Missouri, and to Kansas. Along the way, I drove through more than my fair share of construction zones along the various highways. What I found was shocking and even ridiculous. In fact, there were no appreciable improvements from a similar trip I took a few years ago. As I drove through these construction zones, I found most were not completely set up. It was as if they started to put all the pieces together, but by the time they got to the end they were tired, ran out of material, or both. Many construction zones were not operating properly.

As I drove through these construction zones, I found most were not completely set up. It was as if they started to put all the pieces together, but by the time they got to the end they were tired or ran out of material, or both. Many construction zones were not operating properly.

I drove by several signs that stated that the construction zone was active when flashing lights were working. As I drove by the non-flashing signs I quickly found construction workers and equipment working away. In these areas the traffic didn’t slow down as required apparently because the lights were not flashing. This was in spite of the obvious workers and equipment.

I went through other work zones that stated that the work zone was active when flashing with only one or two of dozens of  lights flashing away and no construction workers or equipment to be found. Again the traffic did not slow down as required in spite of the flashing signs because the drivers somehow knew there was no workers or equipment there.

The one thing I found common through all the construction zones I drove through was that traffic did not slow down to the posted speed limit. Most drivers didn’t slow down at all while some drivers reduced their vehicle speed by 5-7 miles per hour, but nowhere near the construction zone speed limit.

The one thought I was left with is that it is a wonder that more construction workers aren’t killed while working on highway construction projects. The bottom line is that it takes both the proper use and maintenance of construction zones and drivers who will slow down to the posted speed limits while in the construction zone. I think the problem is that the highway construction crews do not appear to know that they are communicating with drivers through the signs and barricades. As I learned a long time ago, Safety is in the communication business. When it comes to highway construction safety zones the crews need to communicate the hazards and control measures properly so drivers are encouraged to reduce their driving speed when required.

About Fred Fanning Author

Fred Fanning currently writes biweekly on his blog fredefanningauthor.com. His published works include the peer-reviewed book Basic Safety Administration-A Handbook for the New Safety Specialist. Fred also authored two editions of the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training and Documentation Principles that was published in the bestselling Safety Professional Handbook and the Safety Professional Handbook Management Applications. He coauthored the peer-reviewed chapter Safety Training with Christine Fiori, Ph.D., PE, published in the bestselling Construction Safety Management and Engineering, second edition edited by Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP. Fred also has several self-published books. He has a series called Fred’s Safety Shorts. This is a collection of twelve books on topics related to safety published with Kindle Direct Publishing. Fred self-published another six books using both CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and Kindle Direct Publishing. He has authored fifty-eight articles in various publications on the topics of safety and health and project management. Fred has earned several writing awards for his non-fiction work. Fred has two novels A Walk Among the Dead and Mystery at Devil’s Elbow.
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