After 25 years of working as flaggers, JoAnne Hand and Shelly Carpenter want motorists to remember to slow down and pay attention in work zones.
They understand people often are running late for work or can't tolerate sitting too long in traffic. But the delay is only temporary and is meant to keep not only motorists safe, but the workers as well.
''One of the greatest hazards is the speed people drive through the work zone. As flaggers, it's our responsibility to keep the workers and the traveling public safe,'' Hand said. ''You should stay alert and be prepared to stop and avoid distractions such as cell phones and texting.''
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Ty Lollini, center, safety consultant with Project Best in Wheeling, poses with JoAnne Hand, left, and Shelly Carpenter, both flaggers with Lash Excavating and Paving. The trio is asking people to slow down and pay attention in work zones.
Ty Lollini, a safety consultant with Project Best in Wheeling who trains workers in work zone safety, said he also wants to remind people to slow down. He noted National Work Zone Awareness Week starts today. This year's theme is ''Work Zone Safety: We're All in This Together.''
''They are not the problem, they are the solution,'' Lollini said of flaggers such as Hand and Carpenter, both of whom work for Lash Excavating and Paving of Colerain. ''People need to be respectful.''
Hand said as people drive through a work zone, they need to pay attention to worker and equipment location. Sometimes workers accidentally will step into a lane of traffic and because the work zone is noisy, they don't hear an oncoming vehicle. This is why it is up to motorists to be ready to stop at a moment's notice.
''We don't want someone we love and have worked with for 24 years to step off a piece of equipment and get killed,'' Hand said. ''Help us and them go home safe to their families. At the end of the day, we all want to go home safe.''
She also noted motorists should always stay in the lane in which they are directed to drive until they see the next flagger telling them to move over. Also, first responders and officers should use their sirens while traveling to emergency calls. Doing so will give flaggers more time to prepare and move traffic to allow them passage through a work zone.