Caution: Back to School

Posted on August 15, 2022 in: Safety

Joe Whiteman, director of safety services The Voice Newsletter August 2022

As the summer ends, parents and kids across the country are gearing up for their return to school. That means new schedules, disruptions in routines, and increased congestion on the road. You can expect more busses contributing to traffic delays and affecting your route to and from the jobsite. What this translates to is the need to discuss and communicate the need for a heightened awareness for all commuting workers.

One perhaps not so surprising statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHSTA) is that of 39,000 middle and high school students, one in four walk to school while distracted. 44% walk while listening to music and 31% while looking at their phones. In other words a great many adolescents are unaware of their surroundings as they make their way to school.

A common phrase often used when discussing safety on the jobsite is “situational awareness” something school age kids are not familiar with. They do not understand that a driver in a full sized staked bed truck cannot see beyond the hood of the truck. They do not understand the hazards of large equipment like concrete delivery and pump trucks during backing operations or making wide right turns that can put kids at risk as they wait for their turn to cross.

Take the time to remind your employees -- whether they are commuting or driving a work vehicle -- to be mindful of the added hazards on the road at school start and dismissal. Evaluate projects that may be in school zones and review vehicle access.  Make adjustments for increased delays and/or provide traffic control and spotters to ensure public safety.

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