New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg kicked off National Work Zone Awareness week today, which is observed nationally this year from April 3 to 7, 2017. To support these safety efforts and public awareness education, Commissioner Trottenberg was joined by several members of a DOT Bridges Preventative Maintenance team restoring mesh treatments underneath the Seeley Street Bridge at Prospect Avenue in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Deputy Commissioner for Infrastructure Eric MacFarlane, NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Director of Environment, Health and Safety of Water and Sewer Operations Fred Chyke-Obpuzor, Con-Ed’s Vice-President for Environment, Health and Safety Andrea Schmitz, National Grid’s Manager of Community and Customer Management Renee V. McClure, and Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco.
“As we stand today with a DOT crew keeping one of our 780 bridges in good repair, we are announcing our Work Zone Awareness week to protect all our crews around New York City,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Trottenberg. “As with our successful Vision Zero efforts to bring serious crashes on our streets to historic lows, we are proud to again partner with local stakeholders to make sure that our crews – be they fixing bridges, repairing sidewalks or repaving streets -- are able to work safely. As pedestrians and motorists get to where they need to go, they should all remember that these public servants also need to get home to their families at the end of a long work shift.”
“DDC requires all contractors to submit and abide by a safety plan that accounts for its workers, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicular traffic,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “And we inspect sites regularly to be sure those safety plans are being followed. This ensures a safe distance between the various groups of people using the street, and also between them and the work zone itself. With over 600 ongoing infrastructure projects, many of them toward the Mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan, work zone safety is a top priority for DDC.”
“The men and women of DEP who build and maintain the City’s critical water and wastewater infrastructure, including the nearly 15,000 miles of water mains and sewers, deserve a safe working environment,” said NYC Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We look forward to building on this important partnership with DOT, DDC, our private utility partners and the public to keep the streets and highways safe for all New Yorkers.”
"Drivers need to be conscious of those they share the road with at all times, but especially when work crews are out maintaining our roads, bridges and tunnels," said NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "The men and women who do this crucial work need to know they're safe and that's why Work Zone Awareness Week is so important. The spring season is construction season for our city and all drivers should be aware."
"As workers work to keep roads, sidewalks, bridges, and infrastructure safe for everyone, ensuring their safety must remain a priority," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "National Work Zone Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight the importance of work zone safety, and I thank Commissioner Trottenberg, DOT, DDC, DEP, NYC's utility companies, and my colleagues in government, as well as the countless women and men who do critical work in work zones across the city."
“We are proud to support National Work Zone Awareness Week because it helps protect the public and our employees around work sites,” said Andrea Schmitz, vice president for Environment, Health and Safety, Con Edison. “We work hard to ensure a zero-harm environment for everyone by keeping our construction sites well-marked. And we ask pedestrians to keep a safe distance, and remind drivers to avoid picking up and dropping off passengers near work zones.”
“National Grid crews are trained in work zone safety, wear high-visibility clothing, and there are illuminated warning signs near work sites, the areas require heightened attention from drivers,” said Keith Rooney, Director Community and Customer Management, National Grid. “National Grid urges motorists to use extreme caution in work zones and to pay attention to warning signs to ensure a safer environment for both workers and motorists.”
“Nationally, more than 130 workers are killed every year in roadway work zone accidents and thousands more are injured. GCA members take employee safety training seriously to help reduce those numbers further, but we also need the help of the motoring public to slow down, pay attention and be patient in work zones. Working together we can avoid thousands of injuries a year,” said Denise Richardson, Executive Director of the General Contractors Association of New York.
“It is an honor for my local union (1455, NYC Traffic Employees) to be partners with the NYC DOT on this very important issue,” said Michael DeMarco, President, Local 1455 Traffic Employees. “Because ultimately our goal and mission are the same and that is to keep my members and their employee' as safe as possible at all times.”
“Every day our hard working men and women go to work on our roadways,” said Michael Coppola, President, Local 1157, DOT Supervisory Employees. Educating motorists though events such as these is a major step in making sure they arrive home safely to their families.
As part of its recent enhancements to improve worker safety, DOT now uses vertical panels in work zones as a channeling device when lane width is minimal. Taller than pylons and with a smaller footprint than barrels, vertical panels take up less lane width, but efficiently warn oncoming motorists, who can more easily distinguish between active and closed lanes. In the past year the agency has deployed additional supervisors at work zones to monitor safety.
Regarding vehicular safety with our fleet, DOT recently started to install truck side guards on certain vehicles as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. Truck side guards are vehicle-based safety devices designed to protect pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists when there is a side-impact collision with a truck.
In New York City, 25 DOT workers have been injured in work zone incidents since 2009 and four have died from work zone-related events during the past two decades. There were two intrusion related work zone injuries to DOT workers in 2016.