By Ross Weber
I am Ross Weber and I am the Hutchinson Branch Manager for APAC-Kansas, Inc. Shears Division.
Work zones are a change to the normal traffic pattern. We train our employees constantly about avoiding distractions while in the work zone. We have no training with the public.
We spend a lot of time in training discussing the distractions we see occurring with drivers in our work zone. A lot of people are looking at their phones or talking on their phones. I followed a man through a work zone last year that was watching a movie on his I-Pad. We see people that are asleep, others that are drunk. Imagine someone driving through your workplace watching a movie at 70 mph.
While construction workers are occasionally injured or even killed in work zone accidents, the vast majority of the serious injuries and all of the deaths I have witnessed in 31 years of construction involved the public.
It is devastating to us when our co-workers are injured at work or anywhere else. We work hard to prevent it. We have become adept at avoiding distracted drivers, we know they are there every day. Some of us have known each other and our families for years - it is personal when one of us is injured.
Equally devastating are the accidents involving the public; construction workers are the first responders at work zone accidents. We witness the destruction to vehicles and people that occur when people run into our equipment and each other. All too often we are the ones that administer first aid and comfort until EMS arrives. These accidents take a toll on us emotionally. While most of the time we don’t know the victims of the accidents, we know that like us, they have people expecting them to come home.
If people driving through our work zones could see what construction workers see, they would put down the phones, the I-Pads, the computers, hairbrushes, razors, cheeseburgers and anything else that distracts them and just drive their car.