UDOT workers do all they can to make construction zones safe for workers and road users.
A big part of Dottie Weese’s job is to inspect construction projects to make sure the proper safety protocols are being followed, protective gear is being worn and appropriate equipment is being used. “I am not here to beat anybody up…I’m just here to make sure workers are safe.”
Weese, Safety Inspector for UDOT Region Two, visits projects monthly and sometimes makes surprise visits. She looks at tours the sites, talks to workers and submits reports about what she observes. Safety is UDOT’s top priority on any project. Weese and her UDOT counterparts in Region One, Three and Four, work side by side with safety professionals who work for UDOT contractors.
Her job can be challenging because of the dynamic nature of construction – work zones change fast, and to stay safe, workers need to be focused on safety at all times. The Mountain View Corridor is an example of a work zone that changes rapidly. While many transportation projects are improvements to existing roads, MVC is being built from the ground up, and workers are using heavy equipment to dig large trenches for utility work and move earth for the new road.
MVC workers on the project are on top of their safety game, according to Weese. “With so much going on, including a lot of really deep excavation, this team has done an awesome job,” she reports.
Chelly Heninger with Granite Construction Company is part of the MVC safety team. Her role is to promote safety among workers and the public, including partnering with UDOT’s Zero Fatalities program to give “Think Safety” presentations to school children near the construction zone, and an conducting upcoming safety week for workers in August.
While construction workers have the needed equipment and understand important safety practices in construction zones, non-workers need to stay out. Lee Young, General Foreman for Structures on the MVC project reports that people are using the construction zones for recreation. He sees the evidence – like motorcycle, three wheeler and horse tracks – in the morning when he returns to work.
What should road users do to stay safe near construction zones?
First of all, stay out of the construction zone, pay attention while driving and observe all posted signs, says UDOT Traffic and Safety Operations Engineer John Leonard. His job is to make sure construction project workers maintain traffic control devices in line with standard industry practice. Whether working in or driving through the zone, “we want everybody to go home safely at the end of the day.”
Check back tomorrow to see how UDOT makes construction zones safe for road users.