Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drivers beware - Construction Zone

Road Work Safety

The article below by Joe Gorman of the Tribune Chronicle relates to the death in a vehicle collision in a Road Work Construction Zone.

This incident didn't directly involve Construction Workers, but did not harm any of the workers on this section of roadway. This involved three vehicles in a "sandwich" incident caused by the third vehicle not anticipating and obeying posted save speed in that zone.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that ALL vehicles obey posted speed limits in areas of long term construction zones as well as to slow down in temporary work zones with only signs and cones.

Come on folks. Slow it down!

Officer: Drivers beware

By JOE GORMAN Tribune Chronicle

Construction zone accidents are all too common, the head of the Trumbull Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said in the aftermath of a triple fatality on Interstate 80.

Monday's accident in which an SUV was crushed between two tractor-trailers was unusual in that three people were killed, but the crashes themselves are not uncommon, patrol Lt. Michael Orosz said.

Drivers have to be extra alert for sudden stops when they are in a construction zone, he said.

''Be as cautious as you can be,'' Orosz said. ''Sometimes backups happen very abruptly. You just have to be very careful.''

The eastbound lanes of I-80 were closed for about six hours after the accident, which happened about 1:50 p.m. when a FedEx tractor was stopped in front of a Ford Explorer in the right lane not far from a construction site in which traffic lanes had merged. A third vehicle, a tractor-trailer driven by Eugene R. White, 62, of Shiloh, failed to stop and rammed into the Explorer, pushing it into the FedEx trailer.

The driver of the Explorer, Shirley Gilmore, 66, of Warren, was killed, along with her brother and sister, David Westenfelder, 56, and Wendy Frost, 59, both of Surprise, Ariz.

Gilmore and her husband, Larry, own Larry's Super Pawn in Warren. Westenfelder and Frost were in town to help the Gilmores celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

Employees at the pawn shop declined to comment Tuesday.

Gilmore's daughter is Warren police Capt. Janice Gilmore, a third-generation city police officer. Police Chief Timothy Bowers said he was fielding calls Tuesday from colleagues in law enforcement asking what they can do to help.

''It's a horrible tragedy,'' Bowers said. ''The entire law enforcement community has reached out to her. Anything that we can do for the family, we'll do.

''She always seemed like a sweet person,'' Bowers said of Shirley Gilmore.

Statistics by the Ohio Department of Public Safety show that from 2005 to 2008, 67 people were killed in work zone traffic crashes, with a high of 20 in 2005 and a low of 13 in 2007. Statistics for 2009 have not yet been completed.

Orosz said troopers are investigating and that toxicology tests will be done on White, and his truck also will be examined for any mechanical deficiencies, which is normal in any accident involving a commercial vehicle.

For her part, there was not much Gilmore could have done, Orosz said. Drivers need to be looking in their mirrors for vehicles coming from behind, but there was no place for her to go in the stalled traffic, he said.

There was no special detail to enforce safety regulations at the construction site, but a trooper was working a side job Monday for the construction company, Orosz said. The company was performing resurfacing work and bridge repair on I-80, which goes from Mount Everett Road to the Pennsylvania state line.

Shortly after the crash, the Ohio Department of Transportation detoured vehicles from the site, ODOT District 4 spokesman Justin Chesnic said. However, vehicles caught past an exit ramp were stuck the entire time.

Chesnic said trying to get traffic turned around is often done on a case-by-case basis, and sometimes local emergency management agencies assist, but that was not done Monday.

Monday's accident is the second triple fatality this year in Trumbull County in which a semi was involved.

On March 31, three U.S. Marine recruits were killed at state Route 82 and Burnett Road in Warren Township after a semi driven by Donald Williams of Austintown plowed into the back of the car in which they were traveling.

No charges have been filed yet in the accident that killed Joshua Sherbourne, 21, of Southington, Michael Theodore, 19, of Howland, and Zach Nolen, 19, of Newton Falls, although Trumbull County prosecutors have reviewed the crash report and charges are expected.

The three were heading to Cleveland in a car driven by Marine Sgt. Charles Keene to sign final enlistment papers. Also injured in the accident was Carl McDermott III, 18, of Masury, who suffered two broken bones in his neck.

In that accident, state troopers have said Williams' semi struck the rear of the car carrying the Marines just after a red light changed to green and pushed it through the intersection into the path of several other cars.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oil Clean Up

OSHA Warns About Oil Spill Cleanup

The following article was posted in the May 4th issue of the Mobile Press-Register. It was written by Jeff Amy, Business Reporter.

It kinda took me by surprise when I noted that OSHA has warned workers of dangers in the Gulf Oil Spill cleanup. However, in thinking about it, it just makes Horse Sense for them to do what they were organized to do - Help Keep Workers Safe On The Jobsite. This is truly a HUGE worksite.

I appreciate the Press-Register passing this warning for all and any persons being cautioned about the perils dealing with the oil.

OSHA - Cleanup Workers Warned
By Jeff Amy
Business Reporter

As temporary labor firms began to recruit workers for oil spill cleanup, the head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the workplace safety agency wants to make sure workers aren't harmed by the oil.

"Our objective is make sure that the cleanup is safe," said David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Michaels visited Louisiana on Monday, along with other health and safety agencies, to consult with well owner BP PLC about training. BP's Deepwater Horizon well has been leaking for some two weeks since the rig involved exploded and sank.

OSHA warns thta cleanup workers could face hazards from oil byproducts, dispersants, detergents and degreasers, as well as drowning, heat, falls, insects and snakes.

OSHA requires a four-hour training class before people can clean up oil. That class is not required for people who are helping to set floating booms, although BP has been requiring a separate safety class for them.

Although BP is offering to pay all cleanup workers, Michaels said that if volunteers are used, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires volunteers to receive this same training that OSHA requires.

Michael's visit came as recruitment of workers geared up.

In Alabama, Houston-based Advanced Industrial Services was trying to hire general laborers with port security identification at hourly rates of $10 to $12. The company was also looking for supervisors and safety representatives.

Construct Corps LLC, a construction labor temporary firm, was advertising for general labor in Pascagoula and Gulfport, paying $9 to $10 an hour. The firm, based in Tampa, Fla., also was seeking 200 people with OSHA hazardous waste and emergency response certification.
OSHA oil spill cleanup safety:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Work Zone Safety Tips

Do's and Don'ts In Roadway

Work Zones

The article below from EHS Today by Laura Walter emphasizes some safety "Do's and Don'ts while driving through roadway work zone. This article is based on American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

Please read this article closely and put these tips into practice when you enter these zones.

Work Zone Safety Tips

For many workers, such as police officers, sales personnel, utility workers, truck drivers, construction workers, fire fighters and emergency personnel, the “office” is actually a vehicle. To keep these workers and others safe, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) members have developed safety tips for drivers passing through work zones.

According to ASSE, transportation accidents have been the leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the United States every year since 1992. In 2007 alone, 835 deaths resulted from motor vehicle crashes in U.S. road construction work zones.

Everyone plays a role in maintaining a safe work zone area during roadway construction. To play your part, follow these tips while driving through a work site:


  • Pay attention to the orange diamond-shaped warning signs or electronic message boards posted in advance of a road construction project.
  • Stay alert. Dedicate your full attention to driving.
  • Minimize distractions. Avoid changing radio stations, using a cell phone, etc. while driving in a work zone.
  • Drive carefully and slowly through the construction site; always obey the posted speed limits in the work zone area.
  • Pay close attention and heed directions on work zone warning signs. Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
  • Watch for stopped or slowing traffic. Do not tailgate.
  • Expect the unexpected. Anticipate potential dangers.
  • Watch how the traffic ahead is flowing.
  • Keep an eye out for construction workers, their equipment and vehicles, as well as the vehicles around you.
  • Use extra caution when driving through a site at night.
  • Watch for detours and lane diversions.


  • Speed up or slow down significantly while going through a work zone.
  • Slow down to look at the construction work being done.
  • Resume normal speed until after you emerge completely out of the work zone area.
  • Tailgate. Most of the accidents within a work zone are rear-end collisions.
  • Change lanes within a work zone.

Most states have instituted new laws regarding work zones; penalties for speeding in these areas are double that of the normal penalties for speeding in a non-work zone stretch of road.

ASSE recently released its “Work Zone Safety for Highway Construction” standard, A10.47-2009. According to the standard Committee Chair Scott Schneider, “Each year, many construction workers are killed in work zones. Their deaths could have been prevented. They were run over by motorists, backed over by construction vehicles and electrocuted by overhead power lines.”

For more information, download ASSE’s “Prevent Roadway Crashes” brochure.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Road Construction Safety - 1

Road Construction Safety

The article below by Misty Maynard of the The Ledger Independent tells of a Safety campaign in Kentucky that makes the average motorists to pay close attention to the warning signs where new roadway work or existing roadway maintenance and repair work is on going.

The week of April 19-23 is
"Roadway Safety Emphasis Week" all over the country.

I commend Ms Maynard on this very informative article. As a Safety Professional, as well as a normal driver that drives the roads of southwest Alabama where quite a number of construction and repaving work is on going, I make it a special emphasis to slow down to below the posted "Safe Speed Limit" in these areas. I urge all readers to adhere to these speed limits no matter how irritated the drivers following you get. I really like the signs spelled out like they are from a child saying, "My Daddy works here, Please Slow Down."

Come on drivers, slow it down in these work areas. Many workers are only protected by safety cones, not heavy concrete barricades.
Those will not keep a vehicle from striking a roadway worker.

Safety campaign looks to curb construction accidents

buy this photo Terry Prather/Staff Workers from the Kentucky Department of Highways had a safety zone set up along Kentucky 11, south of Maysville Monday so that falling rocks and debris could be removed from a ditch line along the roadway. Motorists are urged to use caution while traveling through work zones.

As Michael Hickerson stood in the curve of Kentucky 324 near Wedonia directing traffic through a construction zone recently, he became concerned when an approaching driver did not seem to notice the stop sign on display.

There was oncoming traffic in the open lane and Hickerson feared an accident if he couldn't catch the driver's attention. He pushed the sign out farther and motioned for the driver to stop.

"She finally realized what I was trying to do," Hickerson said. "It could've been very, very bad."

Hickerson, a highway equipment operator with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Mason County maintenance crews. said he sees incidences like these far too often. Driver inattention is a major factor in accidents in work zones and puts Hickerson and all other employees of the KYTC at risk.

In 2009, nine people died and 140 were injured in highway construction and maintenance work zones in Kentucky.

Nationally, in 2008 there were 720 work zone fatalities nationwide and more than 40,000 people injured. In the U.S., there is on work zone fatality every 10 hours and one work zone injury every 13 minutes. Eighty-five percent of the fatalities are motorists.

Those statistics are the reason why KYTC designates one week every April to a work zone safety campaign. KYTC is hosting events across the state this week to highlight the safety message.

"Springtime is construction time," said KYTC District 9 spokesman Allen Blair, making April a perfect time for the safety campaign.

Blair said accidents in work zones are easily prevented, if drivers pay attention and proceed cautiously through the zones.

"Minimize your distractions, slow down, expect the unexpected," Blair said.

Hickerson said cell phones in particular are a major distraction. However, crews are at risk by people eating while driving, reading the newspaper, putting on makeup, or any other activity that diverts their attention from the roadway.

District 9, which covers 10 counties including Mason County, has been fortunate, Blair said, with few accidents occurring.

"We've had a lot of close calls," Blair said.

Maintenance crews abide by strict federal guidelines for establishing a work zone and notifying approaching drivers of the work ahead.

Beginning Monday on Kentucky 11, a crew of seven plus a contractor worked to clean a ditch and free loose debris in Maysville. Though the crew only had to close the shoulder, cones were set up at intervals of 20 feet beginning 190 feet before the actual work site to alert drivers of the maintenance.

Blair said projects that close a lane have guidelines for how much advance warning and space is needed to allow drivers to merge into another lane.

In addition to the cones, signs announcing the work site are displayed, there are flashing lights on vehicles and employees wear bright vests, t-shirts, jackets and hats for easy visibility.

The guidelines used for work zones are designed for maximum efficiency and safety, Blair said.

District 9 has several upcoming projects in the area. Time lines for the projects depend on weather.

Included in the projects are:

-- Bridge repairs on Kentucky 111 and Kentucky 3302 in Fleming County, and Kentucky 57 in Lewis County.

-- Safety improvements along 12 miles of U.S. 62 in Mason County including drainage and guardrail repairs.

-- Resurfacing of about 2.7 miles of Kentucky 111 near Grange City in Fleming County and more than 2 miles of Kentucky 8 and Kentucky 2515 in Mason County.

Contact Misty Maynard at or call 606-564-9091, ext. 272.

For more area news, visit