As the construction industry continues to expand amid growing demand for our services, one of the biggest concerns for most member firms is the shortage of available, qualified workers to hire. One solution to this workforce challenge lies in preparing and recruiting more people to work in the industry – something AGC, our chapters and members firms are all working hard to accomplish, as you can read about in this issue. But just as important is to make sure our work environments are healthy and safe so current workers can continue to thrive.
AGC of America has a host of programs available to help member firms keep workers safe and healthy. You can read about two of those efforts in this issue of Constructor: our annual push to make highway work zones safer and our efforts to educate the industry about the impacts of opioids on workplace health and safety. Both are key issues that claim too many construction workers and potentially scare younger adults from pursuing high-paying careers in construction.
The association has long participated in the annual Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week which takes place in early Spring and is designed to educate motorists about the need to drive safely in work zones. For the past several years we have been supplementing this effort with an additional pre-Memorial Day push to educate drivers. As part of this effort we have been conducting an annual Highway Work Zone Safety survey to better measure the extent, and impact, of highway work zone crashes.
The numbers are simply staggering. Fifty-three percent of Texas contractors reported that a motor vehicle crashed into at least one of their highway work zones during the past twelve months. And while these crashes are more likely to kill or injure motorists, they still pose a very significant threat to motorists. That is why AGC launched a new pilot project in four states this year, Alabama, Missouri, Indiana and Pennsylvania, to use digital advertising technology to improve work zone safety.
The pilot project involved identifying cell phone users who **Custom Sign Shop** regularly drive through three pre-selected work zones, one in each state. We then placed ads urging those motorists to drive safely in the work zones that only appeared when the phone users opened their device and opened apps or their web browser. The last thing we want to do, after all, is distract a driver. The idea was to use 100 percent of our advertising resources to target people who use a work zone. We are evaluating the results of this effort to determine whether this relatively new technique is effective.
Even as we push to make highway work zones safer, we continue to educate the industry about the safety risks associated with the growing number of opioid addictions in too many parts of the country. Opioids pose a clear and present danger to the safety of our workforce and we need to take every possible step to ensure that our worksites are drug and alcohol free.
Our objective is clear: to keep our workers safe and healthy. That is why we are going to such lengths to try new technologies and new techniques to keep highway workers safe. And that is why we are doing so much to keep construction worksites drug and alcohol free. Accomplishing both of those objectives will help address the growing workforce shortages that are causing so much concern for so many members.
Eddie Stewart is the President of AGC of America and the President & CEO of Montgomery, Alabama-based Caddell Construction.