WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is from Monday, April 11, through Friday, April 15.
The campaign is held annually at the start of construction season to encourage drivers to drive safely through highway work zones.
“Today is Work Zone Awareness Week. What’s happening is we want people to know that we’re out here working and to give us the room to do our jobs,” said City of Wichita Equipment Operator John Thompson.
Every day during NWZAW is dedicated to a different deadly danger.
Monday — Work zone safety training day
The week starts off by spreading awareness of the importance of safety by training workers. The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) encourages companies to pause during the workday for safety demonstrations, discussions about safety policies and other prevention steps.
In coordination with NWZAW, the 3rd annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents is also taking place.
Employers and workers are encouraged to voluntarily pause during the workday for safety demonstrations, training in hazard recognition and fall prevention talks about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Resources for safety training can be found here.
Tuesday — National kickoff event
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosted the kickoff event for this year’s NWZAW. This year’s theme is “Work zones are a sign to slow down.”
The kickoff event was livestreamed. To watch it, click here.
Wednesday — Go Orange Day
The ATSSA encourages all roadway safety professionals across the country to wear orange to show their support of work zone safety.
“Orange makes us stick out better. That’s why we have neon orange trucks and flashing lights so that everybody knows that we’re out here,” said Thompson.
Across Kansas, buildings and bridges have been lit up orange to help raise awareness of work zone safety.
The Governor’s Mansion in Topeka was lit orange last year as a part of NWZAW.
You can show your support of NWZAW on social media by posting pictures and using the hashtags #NWZAW and #Orange4Safety.
Thursday — Social media storm
The ATSSA is asking organizations, companies, institutions and individuals to share messages and use hashtags #NWZAW and #WorkZoneSafety on social media between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Friday — Moment of Silence
New in 2022 will be a moment of silence to remember the lives of anyone whose life was lost in a work zone accident.
According to the latest data available, from 2020, the General Estimates System and Crash Report Sampling System, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation reported the following:
- 102,000 estimated total work zone crashed
- 44,000 estimated work zone injuries
- 857 total work zone fatalities, 117 of which were workers and the majority of the rest being motorists and their passengers
- 244 commercial motor vehicle-involved crash fatalities
- 156 pedestrians in work zones
Thompson says, “One of the things we’re asking people right now is to give us as much room as possible, slow down just a little bit, you don’t have to slow down to 10, twenty miles an hour, just five, 10, slow down a little bit, get over as much as you possibly can, let us do our job so we can all get out of the way and get movin’.”
In addition, numerous Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) buildings across the state will be lit in orange:
- Governor’s Mansion in Topeka
- Visitors Center in the Capitol
- Front of the Topeka City Hall building
- Travel Information Center on I-70 near Goodland
Stories will be shared every day by highway workers and contractors on a blog created by KDOT.