D.O.T. workers stress work zone safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D.O.T. workers stress work zone safety

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Cook County - Wednesday, a worker with the Department of Transportation was hit by a truck and killed while working in a construction zone in Turner County. That has many D.O.T. workers using extra caution on the job.

Randy Rathburn has an unusual office. "When you're working within a few feet of a semi going 80 miles per hour, its definitely a different environment," said Rathburn.

It's an extremely dangerous job he's done every day for three years now. "I was scared when I first started and I don't want to say you get used to it, but you learn to watch yourself," said Rathburn.

When a D.O.T. worker is killed on the job, it's a wake up call for his co-workers. Staying safe on the job takes constant awareness on their part, but they need motorists help too. "The biggest thing we want is for motorists to be aware of their surroundings and conditions out here, slow down and really just know that they're in a work zone," said Chambers.

And the Department of Transportation is making an extensive effort to raise awareness on work zone safety. They recently started a program called "Smart Work Zone" that uses these message boards to alert motorists. "We've got a sign about three miles from the work zone and it just gives them an estimated travel time through the work zone," said Chambers.

If you're traveling through a work zone, you should always slow down to the posted speed limit, and double your usual following distance. The D.O.T. also urges motorists to stay off of cell phones, and pay close attention to construction equipment. "We do our jobs and we do them well, but we also want to do it safely and make sure everyone comes home at night," said Chambers.

And while the department mourns the loss of one worker, they hope his death will raise awareness and help keep the rest of their workforce safe.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com