Just in time for the road construction season, employees of the Woodstock Highway Department recently participated in work zone safety training to help prevent accidents for motorists and workers.
As people move around in their increasingly complex and busy lives, distractions can pull them away from concentrating on the road, leading to work-zone accidents.
Employees spent a recent morning in classroom training led by Robert Jakaitis, full-time New York City Department of Environmental Conservation officer and part-time Woodstock Police officer.
Topics included steps taken to protect employees from traffic hazards, identifying hazards, components of a work zone, preparing a traffic-control plan and flagger safety.
After classroom training, employees set up different scenarios on Speare Road to test the knowledge on setting up a safe work zone, such as proper distance for traffic cones and how to signal traffic with flaggers.
Safety is vitally important since there were 21 work-zone related deaths in 2019. Of those, four were workers, four were pedestrians, five involved work trucks and eight were caused by other crashes.
Nationwide, fatal work-zone crashes increased by eleven percent from 2018 to 2019, while fatal crashes outside work zones dropped two percent, according to statistics provided by Jakaitis.
In the past five years, 4400 died in work zone crashes. Drivers make up the most deaths and most involve working-age adults.
Rear-end crashes that involve someone colliding with a slowing or stopping vehicle are the most common accidents in a work zone.