Trade News Release
Monday, April 3, 2000
Contact: Bill Wright
PHONE: (202) 693-1999
National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week
OSHA JOINS TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS IN 'STAY ALERT' CAMPAIGN STRESSING SAFETY FOR HIGHWAY WORKERS
When Andrew Clark, a 30-year-old highway worker in North Carolina, went to work on May 30, 1984, he expected the day to be like most others at the interstate highway project in Iredell County.
Clark was part of a crew replacing concrete pavement slabs on the interstate and then re-striping the pavement. The lane was closed, and Clark was working within the safe zone. Despite the barriers, a tractor-trailer crashed through and pinned Clark against his own vehicle, changing his life forever.
Clark lost a leg, and suffered a fractured skull, broken back and pelvis, and extensive internal injuries. Now 46, he has had 35 operations directly related to the accident. Clark, one of thousands of highway workers injured each year in work zone accidents, will help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and numerous other organizations promote safety for highway workers during the first National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, Apr. 3-7.
"The tragedy of Andrew Clark's accident is a terrible reminder of how dangerous highway work zones can be," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Those who go to work on our nation's highways every day have a right to expect to come home safe and whole at the end of their shifts."
The event's slogan is "Stay Alert," and kicks off today in the Washington, D.C. area with a press conference at 10 a.m. at the Hilton Hotel, 6550 Loisdale Road in Springfield, Va. Representatives from OSHA and other sponsoring agencies are scheduled to attend. In order to witness first-hand just how dangerous highway work zones can be, the press will be invited to enter one of the most dangerous highway work zones in the nation -- the infamous "Mixing Bowl" interchange where Interstates 95, 395 and 495 converge in Springfield.
The Work Zone Safety Awareness Week program was established last December when the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, formed a partnership designed to highlight the dangers both workers and motorists face at highway work zones. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, 772 people were killed in those areas in 1998; of those, 104 were construction workers.
Among the objectives of the nationwide campaign, slated to become an annual event, is to increase public awareness of the need for greater caution and care while driving through work zones, establish safety tips for motorists, and establish a nationwide program to promote work zone safety.
Joining Andrew Clark at the kick-off ceremony will be the family of Kendy Ellis, a 25-year-old highway worker who was struck and killed by a motorist in 1998 in Guilford County, N.C., and the family of 18-year-old Travis Ellis, a highway worker killed in Wayne County, N.C. in 1998.
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This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.