In late 2018, industry leaders from Michigan construction companies, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and engineering firms teamed up to establish the Work Zone Safety Task Force (WZSTF). Aimed at improving work zone safety and reducing the number of injuries and deaths across the state, the task force is comprised of seven Action Teams. Each Action Team represents a key objective in providing safer work zones for all stakeholders – from influencing driver compliance to balancing mobility and safety.
Action Team 6, aimed at improving work zone safety culture for all stakeholders, distributed a work zone safety perception survey in April of 2019 to better evaluate how contractors, MDOT, consulting engineers, local road agencies, and other stakeholders perceived safety within Michigan work zones. The survey also asked for ideas to help make roadwork safer for both the public and employees.
With over 1,700 responses, the survey data revealed both expected and unexpected thoughts. Below are the top concerns and highlights of the survey data:
• Distracted drivers were cited as the biggest safety concern in work zones
• Respondents indicated that a lack of police presence in work zones leads to faster speeds and dangerous driving
• A better balance between public mobility on roadways and worker safety needs to be struck to keep everyone safe.
• Driver education needs to be updated to include the importance of work zone safety.
• Time and budget constraints on jobs often place the priority on production rather than safety.
• Public promotion of work zone safety issues and injuries is required to help educate the public on the importance of driving safely through constructions work zones.
If you would like to view a numerical interpretation of the survey results, please click here.
Each of the WZSTF Action Teams are using the survey data as a guide for where each team can make the most impact to improving the safety of our work zones. In the future, the survey will be reissued so that progress towards a safer road construction industry can be evaluated and tracked.
To everyone who responded to the survey and offered feedback, thank you for your time. Your thoughts and ideas will help the Task Force improve safety in work zones across the state of Michigan.