Washington, D.C.—AGC highway construction contractors continue to make highway work zones safer, protecting both the workers and the motorists. “Work zone injuries and deaths are avoidable,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) during Work Zone Awareness Week.

Each year, more than 1,000 workers and motorists are killed in work zones and those numbers have been steadily increasing.

“Motorists need to follow the posted speed limits and be alert to changes in lane alignments in the work zone so that road improvements can be made without placing workers or motorists at risk,” added Sandherr.

The theme for this year’s Work Zone Awareness Week is “Signs of Change” and is intended to get motorists to pay closer attention to the orange work zone signs that give them direction when construction is underway. Similar events are being held nationwide during Work Zone Awareness Week.

“The construction industry places a premium on worker safety and we will continue to make it a priority to keep our workers out of harm’s way,” said AGC member Brian Burgett (Kokosing Construction Co., Frederickstown, Ohio) who spoke during an event at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge reconstruction project, part of the Capitol beltway just south of Washington, D.C. “As a contractor, my goal is to protect employees from all unnecessary hazards; but the facts remain that there is one work zone fatality every 8.2 hours or three per day.”

Kokosing Construction Co. was also named AGC’s Grand Safety Award Winner at AGC’s 88th Annual Convention in San Antonio in March. Over the last four years Kokosing’s management and employees have made substantial improvements in their safety program. The team focused on core safety processes, which helped their incident rate drop from 8.98 percent in 2003 to 3.32 percent in 2006.

AGC worked to have provisions included in the 2005 federal transportation legislation to increase police presence in work zones and allow for increased use of additional safety items, including concrete barrier.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents more than 32,000 firms, including 7,000 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at AGC members are "Building Your Quality of Life.”