Introduction

Better protection is needed for our public-sector employees in work zones who are exposed to traffic hazards. Sobering statistics remind us that work zones are fraught with danger, with work zone crashes tending to be more severe than other types of crashes. Over the past decade in U.S. construction and maintenance work zones alone, nearly 40,000 persons were injured and 1,100 were killed each year. To put this in perspective, that's roughly one work zone fatality every eight hours, and one work zone injury every nine minutes. (This problem is not unique to the U.S. For example, in Canada, there are nearly 2,000 casualties and 40 fatalities annually due to vehicle crashes in work zones and a total of 1,579 accidents occurred at road work zones on Germany's motorways in 2003 alone, with 973 injuries and 25 deaths). There exists a real need for public employers to dig down and explore the impact of, and countermeasures available to reduce, vehicle-related hazards in all types of work zones on one often overlooked segment of the U.S. worker population: the public-sector worker.

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